Opinion Columns & Blogs

Mitchell a promising pick for Sedgwick County judge

Wichita attorney Deborah Hernandez Mitchell promises to be a fine addition to the Sedgwick County District Court bench, bringing good experience in private practice and as a former prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office as well as degrees from the University of Kansas. With this month’s appointment, Gov. Sam Brownback also further improved the gender and ethnic diversity of the local bench. All 28 of the judgeships were held by men when Brownback appointed Faith Maughan in 2013. Mitchell, who fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Joseph Bribiesca, told The Eagle editorial board that her ancestry is half-Mexican and half-Irish. In filling this and the other vacancies, Brownback has not followed his predecessors’ practice of consulting with the Wichita Bar Association. Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley told the editorial board only that 19 people applied, and again declined to release the names of finalists “out of respect for their confidentiality and to encourage a broad pool of applicants.” – Rhonda Holman