The 25th Judicial District Nominating Commission has selected Christopher James Velez, of Garden City, to fill a vacant magistrate judge position in Hamilton County.
The commission conducted a public interview of Velez, the only nominee for the position, on Thursday at the Hamilton County Courthouse in Syracuse.
Velez, who currently has a private law practice in Garden City, will begin his new position after being sworn in.
The 25th Judicial District is comprised of Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott and Wichita counties. The vacancy was created when District Magistrate Judge Meghan Houtsma resigned May 1.
Kansas law requires that a magistrate judge be a resident of the county at the time of swearing-in and while serving; be at least 30 years old; have graduated from a high school, secondary school, or the equivalent; and either be a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas or pass an examination given by the Kansas Supreme Court and become certified within 18 months.
After serving one year in office, the new magistrate judge must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the incumbent will serve a four-year term.
Supreme Court Justice Dan Biles is the nonvoting chair of the 25th Judicial District Nominating Commission. Members are Lucille Douglass, Gene Gaede, William Heydman, John Lindner, Zachary Schultz, and Thomas Walker, all of Garden City; Ralph Goodnight, Lakin; Ann Wiles, Leoti; Christine Cupp, Scott City; Robert Gale Jr. and Timothy Kohart, Syracuse; and Debbie Kuttler, Tribune.