We see the name on the ballot every four years — Michael F. Powers, chief judge, Eighth Judicial District.
It’s one political position that is not necessarily based on politics.
So, how should a voter make the decision to vote for a judge?
One way is to read evaluations provided by the Kansas Commission on Judicial Performance.
As part of the performance evaluation, attorney and non-attorneys were surveyed regarding their experiences with the judge, typically including those who have been in the judge’s courtroom during proceedings.
The questionnaire asks attorneys and non-attorneys to rate the judge on various aspects of the job that includes legal ability, integrity, impartiality, communication skills, professionalism, temperament, bias in favor of the prosecution or defense, and then asks them to rate whether the judge should be retained, ranging from strong retained to not retain.
Of the attorneys surveyed, Powers was strongly recommended to be retained at 100 percent. Of the non-attorney people surveyed, 90 percent strongly recommended that Powers be retained.
The overall rating by attorneys for Powers was 3.9 with the average of other judges in the district being 3.5. The overall rating by non-attorneys was 3.4 with the average being 3.3. Survey results are available at www.kansasjudicialperformance.org.
The judge was appointed as a district judge in 1991, handling both civil and criminal cases in Marion and Morris counties.
He also serves as chief judge of the Eighth Judicial District.
Before his appointment to the bench, Powers served 11 years in private law practice and as Morris County Attorney from 1980 to 1991.
He is a graduate of Emporia State University and the University of Kansas School of Law.
Powers is a member of Kansas Bar Association, American Judges Association, and American Judicature Society, serving on an executive committee of Kansas District Judges Association. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for Exemplary and Distinguished Service to Children and Families.
He is a member of Marion Kiwanis Club, Chingawassa Days Steering Committee, Boy Scouts, Marion Advancement Campaign, and ESU Alumni Association.
He and his wife, Judy, live in Marion.