Archive for Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sebelius to choose among three attorneys to replace Murphy

November 13, 2008

A judicial nominating commission has forwarded names to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of two Lawrence attorneys in private practice and a federal prosecutor from Eudora to replace District Judge Jack Murphy.

After conducting interviews with 16 Douglas County candidates Wednesday and Thursday, the commission has nominated Barbara Kay Huff and Sally Davis Pokorny, who both are private practice attorneys in Lawrence, and Kenneth M. “Mike” Warner, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Kansas City, Mo., office.

Their names will be submitted to Sebelius Friday morning. She will have 30 days to make an appointment. Murphy retires on Jan. 12.

Here is background information on the three candidates that was provided by the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration:

• Huff has been a solo practitioner in Lawrence since 1991 and before that worked as an attorney for the appellate defender office in Olathe from 1988 to 1991, and as an appellate attorney for the Legal Aid Society Criminal Appeals Bureau in New York City from 1985 until 1988.

Her legal career includes a stint as a central staff attorney for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and as an associate in a Seattle law firm. She originally is from Clarinda, Iowa.

• Pokorny has been in private practice in Lawrence since 2006. Following her graduation from Washburn University School of Law, Pokorny became an assistant district attorney in Shawnee County, where she worked until moving to Montgomery County to become an assistant county attorney there.

From 1985 to 1989, she served as the elected Montgomery County Attorney, and then served as Cherryvale City Attorney until 1992. She was in private practice in Coffeyville and Independence until she moved to Lawrence.

• Warner, a 1976 graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a 1983 graduate of the Washburn law school, has been an assistant federal prosecutor since 1999.

Between 1995 and 1999, he was a senior assistant district attorney in Johnson County. Warner also served briefly as general counsel for the Citizen's Utility Ratepayer Board.

He has served as counsel for the Kansas Sentencing Commission, and as an attorney in the Harvey County and Wyandotte County prosecutor's offices. He maintained a private practice in Salina from 1985 to 1987 and was a claims attorney for an Iowa insurance company from 1984 to 1985.

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