2020 Voters Guide: 3 Douglas County District Court, 6 state judges face retention elections

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center is pictured in this file photo from Aug. 4, 2020.

Three judges on the bench in Douglas County District Court will be on the ballot for retention in the Nov. 3 general election.

Chief Judge James McCabria, Judge Kay Huff and Judge Mark Simpson, all of Lawrence, only need a simple majority of “yes” votes to retain their seats, County Clerk Jamie Shew said.

The same applies to the state court judges up for retention this year.

Justice Eric Rosen, of Topeka, is the only Kansas Supreme Court justice on the ballot this year. Several Kansas Court of Appeals judges face retention votes, though: Chief Judge Karen Arnold-Burger, of Overland Park; Judge Sarah Warner, of Lenexa; Judge David Bruns, of Olathe; Judge G. Gordon Atcheson, of Overland Park; and Judge Kathryn Gardner, of Topeka.

Shew said that in some parts of the state, judges are elected. However, that does not apply to Douglas County or state judges, who can only campaign for retention if there is an effort to remove them from the bench.

Gov. Mark Parkinson appointed Huff to the bench in 2010, and Gov. Laura Kelly appointed Simpson last year. Gov. Sam Brownback appointed McCabria in 2014, and the Kansas Supreme Court in November 2019 announced McCabria’s appointment to chief judge, effective Jan. 1 of this year through Dec. 31, 2021.


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