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Thoughts of an attorney about a District Judge
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Dear Editor,
Steve Johnson is one of two candidates for District Judge of the 20th Judicial District: Counties of Barton, Stafford, Rice, Russell, and Ellsworth.
The responsibilities of this office are awesome, numerous, and onerous,
The judge must be a legal scholar because hundreds of rules must be enforced (some dating back over a century). But also he must “keep up” with the daily flood of new statutes, regulations, and case law.
A judge must be incredibly disciplined because the court must be fair and impartial-at times enforcing laws that the court might personally believe are undesirable. There are even heavy physical and emotional demands imposed upon a judge. And he should have extensive experience interacting with people. He must be familiar with attitudes, and the nobility to which people can rise, as well as the depths to which some descend.
He must be meticulous and tenacious in preparation for decisions which the court will be required to make.
The judge candidate must himself be an exemplary citizen, respected as a successful attorney, exemplary as a family man and father, and have a demonstrated record of community service. He must have empathy, humility, and be able to endure enormous emotional pressures”. the list goes on and on ....
As a fellow attorney and colleague, I have had many opportunities to observe Steve Johnson in his 27 years as a citizen of Great Bend in the practice of law in the 20th Judicial District. I respect his intellectual prowess, his diligence, his zeal for his clients, his integrity, his courtesy, his ability. He is the quintessential professional. I know him from personal interaction many times during court hearings, conferences, and negotiations leading to resolution of intense differences between our respective clients,
Scholarship: Mr. Johnson graduated with honors, and holds a degree of Juris Doctor from the Washburn School of Law. Those who have practiced with him, or against him, have experienced his effective counsel.
When I think of Steve Johnson, I am reminded of the words of a late dean of the KU School of Law:
A district judge should be a complete and successful person in discharging important responsibilities and duties apart from the courtroom. A “real and complete” person does indeed have feelings, deals effectively with many challenges in raising a family, and should remain sensitive to community needs and committed to community service.
In reflecting on Steve’s “other life” apart from the practice of law: It is important to mention that he has another college degree, a BS in Secondary Education from Fort Hays State University. And prior to earning his law degree from Washburn University, Steve taught in the classroom, and coached at Little River-Windom High School. After entering the practice of law, for many years here in Great Bend as a volunteer, he coached youth football and baseball.
He has an impressive list of other volunteer community services: He is currently serving on the Leadership Council in the office of secretary, Trinity Lutheran Church, and also a term on the Board of Directors of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce, of which he has been a past Chamber Ambassador. The Great Bend Housing Authority for 12 years received his donated service on its Board of Directors. For 20 years he also served on the Board of Directors of Central Kansas Development, and has served as Treasurer of the Great Bend Noon Lions Club. For many years he has been a volunteer for Kansas Legal Services Elder Law Hotline, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Barton County Law Library. He is a member of the Barton County Bar Association and Kansas Bar Association.
Steve is a dedicated father. He and his wife, Jil, are the parents of two beautiful children: Mitch, a student at GBHS, and Lyndsee, a graduate of Kansas State University, College of Design, with a degree in Interior Architectural Design.
I enthusiastically endorse, and invite you to vote for Steve Johnson for Judge of the Twentieth Judicial District. And I urge you to verify by asking your local attorney about the impressive credentials and the above-stated reasons for my support of this outstanding lawyer and exemplary citizen willing to undertake the stupendous responsibility of District Judge.
This is an unsolicited letter.
Glenn Opie
Great Bend