Governor Laura Kelly today appointed Joan Lowdon, Leavenworth Deputy County Attorney and a resident of Bonner Springs, Kansas, to the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Michael Gibbens. 

“Throughout her career and during the interview process, Joan proved that she is not only ready to take on the responsibility of a district judge, but that she has the best interests of her community at heart,” Governor Kelly said. “I know she will do great things for the people of Atchison and Leavenworth counties, whether they are appearing in her court room or are community partners working to improve our justice system.”  

Lowdon has been the Deputy County Attorney for Leavenworth County since 2017. As the Deputy County Attorney, Lowdon prosecutes all types of felony and misdemeanor criminal cases, but her cases primarily involve child victims and other person felonies. From 2011 to 2017, she was an Assistant County Attorney for Leavenworth County. She sits on the board of directors for Court Appointed Special Advocates program for the First Judicial District, and from 2017 to 2020 she served as president of the Leavenworth County Bar Association. Lowdon graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2010 and earned her undergraduate degrees in French and Philosophy from Kansas State University in 2007. 

“I’m incredibly grateful to my community and Governor Kelly for the opportunity to serve as a district judge,” Lowdon said. “Throughout my career I’ve been struck by the power of a judge to make a positive impact on people’s lives, especially for vulnerable children. I am eager to get to work to ensure that everyone appearing in my court is heard and that the law is applied impartially.” 

District court judges in the 1st Judicial District 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 two other nominees selected by the district nominating commission were Keyta Kelly, (private practice lawyer and former Leavenworth County Counselor-at-Large), and Michael Jones (private practice lawyer and former Leavenworth Assistant County Attorney).