Monique Centeno will be Sedgwick County’s newest judge following her swearing in ceremony this Fri., Sept 27, 3:30 p.m. in the Sedgwick County Courthouse, Courtroom 9-1. The public is invited to attend.
Centeno was appointed by Gov. Laura Kelly to fill the term of retiring Chief Judge James Fleetwood. Judge Centeno will be only the second African-American woman to serve as a judge in the 18th Judicial District and only the 10th woman. The only other African-American female judge to serve the District was Judge Jennifer Jones.
Of the 28 judges in the 18th District, with Centeno’s addition, only four are currently women. Prior to Centeno, Judge Greg Waller was the last African-American judge to serve on the bench. Judge Jones served from 1994 to 2014, when he was defeated
Judges in Sedgwick County are elected and serve four-year terms. When a Judge retires in the middle of a term, the Governor appoints a new judge to finish out the term. The Division 11 position to which Centeno is being appointed will be on the ballot in 2020.
Centeno will be sworn in by the Honorable Anthony Powell, Kansas Court of Appeals.
“Monique is a talented attorney, and I am confident she will serve Sedgwick County and the state well,” Kelly said. “Monique’s commitment to the legal profession and the community have prepared her for service on the bench, and she will be an excellent judge.”
Centeno is a trial attorney at Wall Huntington Law Firm in Wichita, where she represents individual clients in personal injury and civil rights. Her prior experience includes nine years as an Assistant Public Defender in the Sedgwick County Public Defender’s office. Centeno is also active in the community, as a member of the American Association for Justice, Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, Kansas Women Attorneys Association, Wichita Bar Association, and a repeat volunteer with the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program.
Centeno was born in Brooklyn, NY, and traveled extensively throughout childhood while her father served in the United States Army. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2000, and earned her juris doctor from Washburn University School of Law in 2005.
“I’m eager to get to work and continue serving my community in my new role,” Centeno said. “I take the opportunity to serve as a district judge very seriously, and I thank Governor Kelly for trusting me to handle this important position. Every person who appears in court before me will be heard and respected, and I look forward to working with our legal community and my colleagues on the bench to continue improving the services the court provides to Sedgwick County.”