Douglas County chief judge’s appointment renewed until 2026

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Chief Judge James McCabria speaks at a swearing-in ceremony for Judge Carl Folsom III on Dec. 2, 2022, at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center.

Updated at 4:03 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28

The Kansas Supreme Court has renewed Douglas County Chief Judge James R. McCabria’s appointment as chief judge of Kansas’ Seventh Judicial District, according to a post from the county on social media.

McCabria was first appointed chief judge in November of 2019, and the renewal marks his third term as chief. The term will run from Jan. 1, 2024, through Dec. 31, 2025, according to the post.

McCabria was appointed as a district judge in Douglas County in 2014 after serving eight years as an assistant district attorney under former District Attorney Charles Branson. He served as an assistant Kansas attorney general from 2001 to 2006 and worked in private practice beginning in 1994 in Coffeyville and Eudora after he earned a law degree from the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. His bachelor’s degree is in criminal science from Ohio State University, as the Journal-World reported.

McCabria presides over Division Four in Douglas County District Court. He oversees all seven District Court divisions in addition to two pro tem divisions. Judges in District Court divisions are appointed by the Kansas governor, while pro tem judges in Douglas County are appointed by the chief judge of the district.

As chief judge, McCabria has authority over the court’s clerical and administrative functions; recruitment, removal, compensation and training of the court’s nonjudicial employees; appointment of the clerk of the District Court and a language access coordinator; coordinating statistical and management information; and supervising the court’s fiscal affairs, according to the Kansas Supreme Court Rulebook.

The chief judge is also responsible for case assignment for other judges within the district and to ensure that the caseloads of each judge are distributed equally, and to coordinate vacations among the judges.

Finally, the chief judge serves as a liaison for the court in public relations matters and as an evaluator of the court’s effectiveness.

When reached for comment on the renewal of his position as chief judge, McCabria had this to say via email:

“The only message I would want to offer to the citizens of Douglas County is that to the degree I am in any way effective as chief judge, it is the result of having colleagues who are smart, dedicated judges that care about their cases.”


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