Congratulations are due Kevin O’Connor, who was appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback to fill the vacancy on the Sedgwick County District Court created by the death of Judge Richard Ballinger. O’Connor, most recently with the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office, has an impressive record of trial experience and knowledge of criminal law that should serve him well on the bench. He spent 17 years prosecuting cases in Sedgwick County, including as deputy district attorney, and has been a special prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Office. Though O’Connor’s qualifications are solid, it was disappointing that the Governor’s Office again failed to seek input during the selection process from the Wichita Bar Association – unlike four of the past five governors who also filled 18th Judicial District vacancies. Nor would his office release the names of finalists, saying only that 39 applied for the position. In response to The Eagle editorial board’s inquiry, Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley e-mailed: “A process that respects the confidentiality of applicants encourages the strongest possible pool of qualified applicants to serve Kansans.” – Rhonda Holman
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