A young prosecutor who says she has a passion for improving Kansas City’s handling of domestic violence cases has been appointed the newest judge on the Municipal Court.
The Kansas City Council on Thursday appointed Courtney Ann Wachal to fill the domestic violence docket vacancy created when Leonard Hughes III resigned in September.
“I am excited to get over there and get started,” said Wachal, 35, who has worked the past three years as an assistant city prosecutor. Previously she worked as a public defender in Ava, Mo., and in Clay and Jackson counties, handling serious criminal cases.
Wachal was chosen over two other finalists for the position: Kansas City prosecutor Keith Ludwig, 62, and assistant Clay County prosecutor Corey Austin Carter, 38.
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Council members said they were impressed with Wachal’s energy, passion and specific suggestions to improve the court. Wachal told them she will focus on ensuring victim safety and offender accountability.
Mayor Sly James said all three applicants were excellent, and he encouraged Ludwig and Carter to apply again for another vacancy on the court that became available when Judge Michael McAdam retired Dec. 31.