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New. Kan. appeals judge to take seat in January

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Budget constraints and the need to remodel office space will keep newly confirmed Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Caleb Stegall from taking his seat until January.

Chief Judge Thomas Malone announced Wednesday that Stegall will be sworn in Jan. 3. Stegall is Gov. Sam Brownback's chief counsel.

Stegall is filling a new, 14th seat on the Court of Appeals. When lawmakers finished their regular, annual session in June, and they and court officials didn't anticipate the new judge's confirmation by the Senate until January.

The Legislature had a special session earlier this month to rewrite a criminal sentencing law, and senators took up Stegall's nomination then.

Spokesman Ron Keefover said the judicial branch also must remodel several small, vacant offices into a judge's suite.