Today Governor Laura Kelly appointed Carl A. Folsom III to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge G. Joseph Pierron Jr. Folsom lives in Lawrence and is an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Topeka.
“During the interview process, it became clear that Carl was not only an extremely bright lawyer, but that he also has a passion for the practice of law and a real understanding of how it affects Kansans’ daily lives,” Kelly said. “Carl knows the struggles of Kansans who face economic insecurity, and he knows the challenges in our criminal justice system. In particular, he will immediately be able to contribute expertise in criminal cases, which account for the vast majority of cases on the Court of Appeals.”
Folsom, a fifth-generation Kansan, grew up in Tonganoxie. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas, graduating with honors and highest distinction. He attended University of Kansas School of Law and graduated in 2005.
After law school, Folsom worked in the Kansas Appellate Defender’s Office, representing indigent defendants and arguing numerous cases before Kansas appellate courts. He then spent two years in private practice handling civil and criminal cases before becoming an Assistant Federal Public Defender, first in Muskogee, Okla., and then in Topeka.
“I am honored and humbled that Governor Kelly has confidence in my ability to contribute alongside the stellar judges and staff of the Court of Appeals,” Folsom said. “I am committed to the law and to applying the law as the Legislature writes it without prejudice or bias. But my passion for the law goes beyond legal reasoning or words on a page – the law is a real thing that has the capacity to change lives, for better or worse. As a Court of Appeals judge, I will always apply the law fairly and uniformly, never forgetting that the law is ultimately about people and our obligations to our fellow citizens.”
Folsom’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation and his materials are being forwarded to the Senate today. The statutory deadline for the governor to submit his appointment to the Senate is June 3. As a result, under the statute controlling Court of Appeals appointments (K.S.A. 20-3020), his appointment is available for Senate consideration during the upcoming special session.
“I look forward to working with the Senate, including Judiciary Chair Wilborn, Majority Leader Denning and President Wagle to earn quick confirmation of Carl’s appointment during this special session,” the Governor s
Before 2013, Court of Appeals judges were not subject to Senate confirmation and were selected by the governor from a group of finalists named by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. To reinstitute a version of that merit-based selection process, Kelly signed Executive Order 20-01 in January of this year creating the Court of Appeals Nominating Commission. The Commission handled the initial application and interview process, and ultimately forwarded three candidates for consideration, including Folsom and Wichita attorneys Amy Cline and Diane Sorensen.
“Amy Cline and Diane Sorensen and are both incredibly talented attorneys,” Kelly said. “I appreciate their commitment to Kansas and their time and patience during this selection process.”