Governor Laura Kelly Appoints Christopher Etzel to Fill District Court Vacancy in the 2nd Judicial District


TOPEKA – Today Governor Laura Kelly appointed Christopher Etzel, Havensville, to the 2nd Judicial District vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Judge Gary Nafziger.

“I’m pleased at the opportunity to appoint Chris to this position – he will be an excellent judge for the Second Judicial District,” Governor Kelly said. “He has deep roots in the community. He knows the people of Jackson, Pottawatomie, Wabaunsee, and Jefferson counties, and through his law practice he knows the issues facing our justice system. I am confident every lawyer, plaintiff, or defendant appearing in front of him will be fairly heard and treated with dignity and respect.”

Etzel has been in private practice since 2004, handling a wide variety of civil and criminal cases. He also serves as the City Attorney for Onaga, Havensville, and Wheaton. In his role as city attorney, he prosecutes cases in municipal court and provides legal counsel to the cities. Etzel has extensive community involvement through his involvement with various educational and civic groups such as the Second Judicial District Juvenile Correctional Advisory Board and the Onaga Chamber of Commerce. He also never misses an opportunity to support his kids in school and sports activities. Etzel graduated from Kansas State University in 2000 and earned his law degree from Washburn University School of Law in 2004. He lives with his wife and children in Havensville.

“Becoming a district judge for my community will be an honor, but being a judge is not about personal honors, it’s about service.” Etzel said. “I thank Governor Kelly and the Second District Nominating Commission for the trust they have placed in me to serve as a judge. I will work every day to make sure that my courtroom and our justice system are worthy keepers of that trust.”

District court judges in the 2nd Judicial District are appointed by the governor and selected from nominees chosen by a district nominating commission. Judges in nominating commission districts are subject to retention elections every four years.

The two other nominees selected by the district nominating commission were Shawna Miller (Jackson County Attorney and municipal judge for Hoyt and Mayetta) and Joshua Ney (Jefferson County Attorney and private practice attorney).

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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