OLATHE, Kan. — For the first time in more than a decade, the Johnson County District Court will be adding new judges.
The state budget Gov. Laura Kelly signed on Wednesday, provides funding for 23 new district court and magistrate judges throughout the state, including three new judge positions for the 10th district court.
District Court Judge Kelly Ryan said based on a 2019 workload study from the National Center for State Courts, the 10th District would need approximately nine new judges to properly handle dockets. The last time a new judge was appointed to the 10th district court was in 2007.
“Johnson County’s population has risen over 86,000 people since 2007.We’ve been operating with the same 23 judges since that time. It is long past due and we are very appreciative of the legislature for that,” Ryan said.
Court administrator Laura Brewer said the district court will be working with the National Center for State Courts to determine where the new judges will be assigned.
“We want to really look at what the needs are of the district court and really look for long term goals of what we want for these positions. Whether that be additional treatment court modalities, behavioral court,” Brewer said. “We obviously have a huge focus on mental health at the moment. We want to be very thoughtful on what the long-term goal of these positions is.”
Kelly will appoint all three new district judges. Ryan said the 10th Judicial Nominating Committee will meet and send the names of recommended nominees to the governor’s office after funding becomes available on July 1.