Friday, July 25, 2014

Longtime judge leaving bench

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 4/2/2014

An iconic judge in Franklin County’s modern history is hanging up his robe.

Thomas H. Sachse has announced his retirement as a district judge for the State of Kansas after 23 years of service.

But the longtime Ottawa judge isn’t stepping completely away from the legal profession.

Sachse plans to resume private practice of law, according to a Fourth Judicial District news release issued Tuesday.  

Sachse was appointed to the bench April 1, 1991, by then-Gov. Joan Finney. Judge Sachse presided over domestic, probate and felony criminal cases. During his tenure on the bench, he has been assigned primarily to the Franklin County portion of the Fourth Judicial District.

The announcement had not been anticipated by many of those who work in the district court building, 301 S. Main St., Ottawa.

“I was surprised at the retirement, and I’m excited for him that he is able to retire,” Stephen Hunting, Franklin County attorney, said. “He will be missed.”

Bob Green, a retired Ottawa attorney, recently talked about hiring Sachse, who he described as a promising young lawyer, in the mid-1970s.

“In 1974, I began to realize that I needed an associate,” Green said. “I interviewed a number of young lawyers, and I hired a young man who I liked a lot named Thomas Sachse. We worked together a number of years and the firm became Green and Sachse Chartered. We worked together for about 17 years, until 1991, at which time Judge Sachse became a district judge, where he works today.”

Sachse said it has been a privilege to serve as judge for more than two decades. The judge has had retirement “under advisement” for nearly a year, he said, but finally decided the time was right. Judge Sachse’s last day of judicial service will be May 9, the news release said.

The Kansas Supreme Court will then convene the Fourth Judicial Nominating Commission, comprised of lay residents and lawyers residing in the four counties of the judicial district: Franklin, Osage, Anderson and Coffey. The commission’s task will be to submit a list of potential candidates for the position. The commission’s list will be presented to the governor who will appoint Sachse’s successor. A timetable for completing this process has not yet been announced.

After his retirement from the bench, Sachse plans to resume private practice, joining the Anderson & Byrd LLP law firm, 216 S. Hickory St., Ottawa, the release said. In addition to practicing law, Sachse, who is a trained mediator, will offer mediation and arbitration services to the firm’s clients.

Sachse and his wife, Susan, have two sons: Scott and his wife Brandi, Prairie Village; and Jack and his wife, Lauren Bonds, Washington D.C. The Sachses have one grandson, Henry, the release said.

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