Gov. Kelly nominates Sedgwick County prosecutor for appellate court

    Gov. Laura Kelly nominated Sedgwick County prosecutor Lesley Isherwood, of Wichita, to a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the Kansas Senate. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)
    Gov. Laura Kelly nominated Sedgwick County prosecutor Lesley Isherwood, of Wichita, to a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the Kansas Senate. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

    TOPEKA — A senior assistant district attorney in Sedgwick County was nominated Thursday by Gov. Laura Kelly to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals.

    Lesley Isherwood, of Wichita, has devoted nearly all of her legal career to work as a prosecutor and has handled cases in Sedgwick County since 1999. She would replace retired Court of Appeals Judge Steve Leben if confirmed by the Kansas Senate.

    “She has become one of the most experienced appellate litigators in our state,” Kelly said. “She will be an excellent Court of Appeals judge.”

    Isherwood has argued more than 100 cases before Kansas appellate courts and authored in excess of 1,000 appellate briefs. After graduating from Washburn University’s law school, she worked briefly for a law firm in Dodge City. She’s been involved in the Kansas Children’s Service League, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, Junior League of Wichita and the Wichita Bar Association.

    “As a prosecutor, I’ve approached the law as an advocate for public safety, but part of my job as an appellate attorney has been to see the law and the facts from multiple perspectives,” Isherwood said in a statement. “My job as a Court of Appeals judge will be to sort through those perspectives and ensure that in each case the law is applied as written, fairly and without bias.”

    A nominating commission recommended Isherwood and three other candidates for the opening. The other nominees were Russell Keller, a Fairway attorney in private practice, and Carl Folsom, an assistant federal public defender from Lawrence. After the Kansas Senate rejected Folsom’s appointment, the commission advanced Johnson County District Court Judge Rhonda Mason of Olathe as a candidate.

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    Tim Carpenter
    Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.