Today Governor Laura Kelly appointed Paul W. Burmaster, Overland Park, Kan., to fill the district court vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Kevin Moriarty.
“Paul will be an excellent judge, and I know he is ready to serve the people of Johnson County and the rest of the state on the district court,” Kelly said. “His decades of experience helping Kansans deal with legal problems and working to improve our criminal justice system make him a perfect addition to the Johnson County bench.”
Burmaster has been in private practice in Johnson County for 25 years, representing individual clients in criminal cases in state and municipal courts throughout the Kansas City area. He began his career as an Assistant City Prosecutor in Wichita, then became an Assistant District Attorney in Wyandotte County before going into private practice. Burmaster has been active in his community through involvement in various bar associations as well as through his membership and board service with the Kansas Children’s Service League. Burmaster grew up in Johnson County, graduated from the University of Kansas with a journalism degree in 1987, and earned his juris doctor from KU in 1990.
“I’m grateful to Governor Kelly and the members of the judicial nominating commission to be given this opportunity to serve the community I’ve called home my whole life,” Burmaster said. “I’ve had the privilege to appear before many great judges in my career, and one quality they all share is that they are great listeners. A judge’s first duty is to follow the law and give each person a fair hearing, but I also believe every person who appears in court deserves a judge who listens to them. That is the kind of judge I will work every day to be.”
Judges in Johnson County are appointed by the governor and selected from among nominees chosen by a district nominating commission. Judges in nominating commission districts are subject to retention elections every four years. The position to which Burmaster is being appointed will be subject to a retention election in 2020. The two other nominees selected by the district nominating commission were Michael McCullouch, Olathe, Kan., the Chief Public Defender for the 10th Judicial District, and Karen Torline, Shawnee, Kan., a municipal court judge for the cities of Edgerton, Roeland Park, and Prairie Village.