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Kelly nominates first Hispanic judge for vacancy on Kansas Court of Appeals

By: - August 26, 2022 9:07 pm
Gov. Laura Kelly nominated Shawnee County District Court Judge Rachel Pickering to the Kansas Court of Appeals. If confirmed, she would replace retired Court of Appeals Judge Anthony Powell, who was appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback. (Thad Allton for Kansas Reflector)

Gov. Laura Kelly nominated Shawnee County District Court Judge Rachel Pickering to the Kansas Court of Appeals. If confirmed, she would replace retired Court of Appeals Judge Anthony Powell, who was appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback. (Thad Allton for Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly nominated a Shawnee County District Court judge to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals who would become the first Hispanic judge on that bench if confirmed by the Kansas Senate.

She selected Judge Rachel Pickering, of Topeka, to fill an opening created by retirement of Court of Appeals Judge Anthony Powell, a Wichita resident who served nine years before retiring in June. He was appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback, heard more than 2,000 cases and wrote 672 opinions.

“When I first appointed Rachel to the bench in 2019, I knew she was a committed public servant based on her legal career and experience in nearly every area of criminal litigation,” Kelly said in a statement Friday. “I am confident Rachel will bring her extensive legal knowledge and balanced perspective to the Kansas Court of Appeals.”

Pickering’s legal career has included work as an appellate defender, public defender, assistant district attorney and assistant solicitor general. She said her experience with criminal prosecution and defense provided a “balanced perspective.”

“Having dedicated my legal career to public service, I would be honored to continue to serve the people of Kansas alongside the distinguished jurists on the Court of Appeals,” Pickering said.

She has argued 35 cases before the Kansas Supreme Court, 40 in front of the Kansas Court of Appeals and authored more than 300 legal briefs.

As an appellate defender, Pickering worked on felony cases from all 105 Kansas counties. She was responsible for criminal cases as a public defender and a prosecutor in Shawnee County. She also was involved in felony cases and federal appeals in the office of the state attorney general.

She worked as a coordinator at Kansas State University’s research foundation, known as K-State Innovation Partners, and as an attorney with the Hovey Williams law firm. She graduated from law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2003, and spent her third year as a visiting law student at University of Kansas.

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Tim Carpenter
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.

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