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Magistrate Judge Karen M. Humphreys Steps Down as Chief

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013



Monday, March 5, 2013

Court Announces Magistrate Judge Karen M. Humphreys Steps Down as Chief

Chief Judge Kathryn H. Vratil has announced that Monday, February 18, 2013, marked Chief Magistrate Judge Karen M. Humphreys’ final day as chief of the magistrate judges.  Although no longer chief, Judge Humphreys will continue in her position as Magistrate Judge. Her service to the court, to the community and in particular to the offender population has been and continues to be extraordinary.  She was appointed to the court on November 1, 1993, replacing Magistrate Judge John Wooley. The court designated Judge Humphreys as the first Chief Magistrate Judge in the District of Kansas in 2003 based on her outstanding professional contributions.

 Prior to joining the federal court, Judge Humphreys was a well-respected member of the Wichita legal community with a diverse professional background. In addition to spending time in private practice, she was also an Assistant United States Attorney and a Tax Attorney with the IRS. Then in 1987, she was appointed by Kansas Governor Mike Hayden to the Sedgwick County District Court, where she presided over civil, criminal and juvenile cases until her appointment to the federal bench in 1993.

 During her tenure with the court, Judge Humphreys has contributed to many projects, perhaps most notably the court’s drug re-entry program called “KanTrac.”  According to Ron Schweer, Chief Probation Officer, "Chief Magistrate Judge Humphreys is the human glue that keeps KAN-TRAC held together and ON-TRAC.  She has gained an appreciation of what we as probation officers face on a daily basis in dealing with the problems and challenges experienced by those subject to our supervision in the community.  Judge Humphreys is a 'probation officer's judge' - always supportive, always mindful of our mission, and forever an advocate of our goals.  She brings humanity to the bench and smiles to the faces of those who often have little to smile about.  She holds people accountable for their negative decisions and offers support to those who succeed in making positive choices.  Judge Humphreys is a boss, co-worker, mentor, confidant, teacher, and friend all rolled into one person." 

 As noted by Tim O'Brien, Clerk of Court, Judge Humphreys has also maintained a prominent role in the legal community as a Fellow of the American Bar Association and a member of the Wichita Bar Association, the Kansas Women Attorneys Association, the Federal Magistrate Judges Association and the AO's Magistrate Judge Committee.  One sign of the respect Judge Humphreys is afforded came in 2002 when she became the 4th recipient of the Jennie Mitchell Kellogg Achievement Award from the Kansas Women Attorney Association.   The court sincerely appreciates Judge Humphreys’ tenure as Chief Magistrate Judge.