Judge's gavel laying on top of a black holy Bible
Recently appointed 26th District Magistrate Judge Steven Santala is scheduled to be sworn in Monday at a ceremony at the Haskell County Courthouse in Sublette.
The ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m., will be conducted by 26th District Chief Judge Bradley Ambrosier.
Santala, of Satanta, won the Republican primary race for the position in the Aug. 2 primary election. The next day, Gov. Sam Brownback announced he was appointing Santala to the position. Santala is running unopposed in the November general election.
Santala, previously a special agent with the FBI, is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. He will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of District Magistrate Judge Tommy Webb. The 26th District is comprised of Grant, Haskell, Morton, Seward, Stanton and Stevens counties.
In addition to Santala, three other people sought the district magistrate judge position, including Joseph T. Welsh, Robert L. Smitherman, and De Ann Ricketts.
After Webb retired, Brownback told a chief judge he was accepting applications to fill the vacancy within 90 days. After those 90 days passed, the governor wrote a letter to the applicants May 25 informing them he decided not to make an appointment and would instead defer to voters in the primary.
Three sitting judges — Chief Judge Ambrosier, District Judge Linda P. Gilmore, and District Judge Clinton B. Peterson — took legal action, seeking to force the governor to fill the vacancy before the election.
The Kansas Supreme Court unanimously ruled July 29 that Brownback was not required to fill the vacancy within 90 days, dismissing the compaint.