Douglas County prosecutor selected to replace retired judge

photo by: Mike Yoder

Assistant Douglas County District Attorney Mark Simpson is shown in court on Friday, July 20, 2018.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday appointed Mark A. Simpson, a Douglas County prosecutor, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Douglas County District Court Judge Paula Martin.

Simpson, of Lawrence, is a senior assistant district attorney in Douglas County, where he has been a prosecutor for the last 11 years, according to a news release from Kelly’s office.

“Mark is an incredibly talented and dedicated public servant, and I know he will serve Douglas County and the state well,” Kelly said. “Mark’s work ethic, compassion, and legal skills have impressed people from all walks of life and perspectives.”

In Douglas County, Simpson has handled murder, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, drug and traffic cases, and he was instrumental in the creation of the Douglas County Behavioral Health Court, which has enabled many criminal defendants to avoid prosecution and receive mental health treatment instead of being incarcerated.

“I appreciate the confidence Governor Kelly and the judicial nominating commission have in my ability to do the difficult and important work of a district judge,” Simpson said in the news release.

Simpson grew up in Stillwater, Okla., graduated from the University of Kansas in 2003, and earned his law degree from the University of Kansas in 2008. Before law school, Simpson worked as a staffer at the Kansas Democratic Party and managed former Attorney General Paul Morrison’s 2006 campaign, according to the release.

Judges in Douglas County are appointed by the governor and selected from among nominees chosen by a district nominating commission. Judges in nominating commission districts are subject to retention elections every four years. The position to which Simpson is being appointed will be subject to a retention election in 2020.

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