The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas announced the selection of Gwynne E. Birzer as the next U.S. magistrate judge in Wichita. Birzer holds two degrees from Washburn University; a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice received in 1989 and a Juris Doctor from the School of Law in 1992. Following graduation, Birzer joined the 3rd Judicial District Public Defender’s Office. Then, from 1993 to 1998, she worked as an assistant district attorney at the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office where she prosecuted sex crimes and child abuse cases. During that time, she also served as an assistant attorney general where she prosecuted sexually violent predator cases. From 1998 to 2004, Birzer worked in private practice handling a variety of cases in the areas of civil, criminal, domestic, estate and business law. During this time, she was appointed as a Pro Tem Judge and presided over Protection from Abuse matters, bond hearings, probate matters and family law matters.
In 2004, Birzer relocated to Wichita, where she worked at the Sedgwick County Public Defender’s Office handling felony criminal defense cases. Then in 2006, Birzer joined Hite, Fanning & Honeyman LLP. Since 2011, she has been a partner and specializes in medical malpractice defense. Beginning in 2008, Birzer has served as an adjunct instructor at Wichita State University teaching courses in the Department of Criminal Justice.
Birzer is a member of the Kansas, Wichita, and American bar associations, and the Defense Research Institute. She served on the KBA Board of Governors from 2008-2011, and has been both a member and chair of the KBA Diversity Committee and member of the KBA Awards Committee. Birzer has served on the WBA Board of Governors from 2013 to present, has been chair of the Professional Diversity Committee, and has been a member of the Ethics and Medical Legal committees.
Birzer is active in the community and has served on the Kansas African American Museum board of directors from 2008 to present (president from 2010 to 2013). She also served on the Kansas Public Television Association Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2013 and is a current member of the City of Wichita Cultural Funding Committee.
Birzer will succeed Magistrate Judge Karen M. Humphreys who will step down around July 1, 2015.