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Douglas County District Court Judge Kay Huff to retire

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Douglas County District Court Judge Kay Huff has announced that she will retire, effective July 8, according to a news release from the county.

Huff presides over felony criminal cases and major civil cases. She has also presided over Drug Court — an alternative court program that aims to help adults charged with nonviolent felony offenses and who are having trouble staying substance-free — since it launched in January 2020.

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Huff earned a bachelor of arts from Reed College and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, according to the release.

“She was admitted to practice in Washington State, New York and Kansas. She has lived in Lawrence since 1988 and had a solo law practice for many years before serving as a judge. While in private practice, Huff also worked part-time as a clinical professor for the Defender Project at the University of Kansas School of Law. In 2019, she was temporarily appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in four cases.”

Huff said she appreciated the privilege of serving as a judge.

“I have found the work meaningful and challenging,” Huff said in the release. “I will miss the camaraderie of colleagues. I thank the staff for their dedication and grit over the years, but particularly during the pandemic.”

State statute lays out the process to determine who will fill the vacancy left by Huff’s retirement. According to the Kansas Judicial Branch, “State statute requires a nominating commission to accept nominations, interview nominees, and forward names of finalists to the governor, who appoints a replacement.

“After serving one year in office, the new 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.”

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