TOPEKA — Kansas State Chief Justice Lawton Nuss announced Friday that the Kansas Supreme Court has appointed District Judge Robert Frederick as chief judge of the 25th Judicial District, beginning July 1.

Frederick will finish the term of Chief Judge Wendel Wurst, who is stepping down as chief judge but will continue to serve as a district judge in the 25th District, which is composed of Finney, Kearny, Hamilton, Greeley, Wichita, and Scott counties.

Frederick will complete Wurst's term, which ends Dec. 31, 2019.

"I have closely observed Judge Frederick's capable leadership of the Kansas District Judges Association during the last year, so I am confident there will be no drop in the high level of chief judge skills the 25th Judicial District has received from Judge Wurst since 2012," Nuss said in a press release.

Frederick is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Washburn University School of Law. He has served as a district judge in the 25th district since 2001. Frederick has been a member of the Kansas Judicial Council's Family Law Advisory Committee since 2006 and a member of the Kansas Supreme Court Judicial Needs Assessment Committee since 2010. He is completing a term as president of the Kansas District Judges Association.

Before becoming a judge, he served as county attorney in Kearny County, was Deerfield city attorney, and was an attorney for the Lakin school district. He also had a general trial practice in Lakin from 1976 to 2001.

Wurst has served as district judge in the 25th district since 2009 and chief judge since 2012.

"I have enjoyed my association with the other remarkable chief judges across the state during my years as chief judge and am pleased and grateful that Judge Frederick has agreed to serve our judicial district," Wurst said in the release. "It is a demanding and difficult position, but Chief Judge Frederick has the demeanor, dedication and leadership skills to do the job well, and the people, lawyers and judges of the 25th Judicial District are very lucky he is willing to serve." 

Wurst is a native of Sterling and graduated from Kansas State University and University of Kansas School of Law. He operated a general law practice in Garden City for 29 years before becoming a judge.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.