PITTSBURG — Chief Judge A. J. Wachter will officially retire December 18 after serving as chief judge for the 11th district since 2013.

Wachter oversees the state’s 11th judicial district, which is comprised of Crawford, Cherokee and Labette Counties. He is based in Pittsburg at the Crawford County Judicial Center, and has served as a district court judge since 2002, and chief judge since 2013.

Wachter graduated from Pittsburg State University and Washburn Law School. He served in the United States Army Reserve from 1961 to 1969, before entering private law practice until 2002.

Wachter formerly served as president of the Crawford County Bar Association.

The district's judicial nominating commission will announce when it is accepting applications for Wachter's successor as a district court judge. After interviewing candidates, the commission will forward the names of three to five finalists to the governor, who will appoint the next judge.

Chief judges are appointed to two-year terms. Wachter’s term will expire December 31.

The Supreme Court appointed Judge Oliver Kent Lynch to complete the remainder of the vacant term of chief judge in the 11th district and to serve a full two-year term beginning next year.

His appointment begins December 19, and the two-year term is effective January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2019.

"I am honored at the Supreme Court’s confidence in me,” Lynch said in a release. “I look forward to working more closely with our wonderful staff.”

Lynch is a native of Baxter Springs and graduated from the University of Kansas and the KU School of Law. Before his appointment to the bench, Lynch was in private practice. He also previously served as Baxter Springs city attorney and Cherokee County attorney.