Today Governor Laura Kelly appointed Rachel L. Pickering, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Mark Braun.
“Rachel is a talented and committed public servant, and I am confident she will serve Shawnee County and the state well,” Kelly said. “Rachel’s commitment to the legal profession and to Shawnee County make her a perfect fit for the Shawnee County bench.”
Pickering is an Assistant Solicitor General in the Office of the Kansas Attorney General, where she primarily handles criminal appeals. She has spent more than 13 years in government practice, at all levels of litigation and for both the prosecution and defense. She began her career handling intellectual property matters at Hovey Williams in Kansas City.
Pickering is also active in the community, as a member of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra Board, the Kansas Women Attorneys Association, and the Hispanic National Bar Association. She recently joined the American Bar Association’s Women in Criminal Justice Task Force, which works to explore the challenges of women in the criminal justice field and identify ways to support and encourage women practitioners. Pickering graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1994 and earned her juris doctor from University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in 2003.
“I appreciate the trust Governor Kelly and the judicial nominating commission have in my ability to do the important work of a Shawnee County district judge,” Pickering said. “In my career I have encountered excellent judges in both the district and appellate courts who have shaped my approach to the law. I hope to follow their examples as I work on behalf of Shawnee County and the state to ensure that each person in my courtroom—whether a government representative, a criminal defendant, a business owner, or a foster child—receives a fair hearing that leads to a just result under the law.”
Judges in Shawnee 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 Pickering is being appointed will be subject to a retention election in 2020. The two other nominees selected by the district nominating commission were Lori Dougherty-Bichsel, the administrative judge for the Topeka Municipal Court, and Todd Thornburg, a staff attorney and Special Assistant Attorney General at the Kansas Department of Labor.