District Court Judge Andrea Purvis, left, reaffirms her oath of office to District Chief Judge Amy Harth as her husband, John Purvis holds the Bible. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)
MOUND CITY – Although Linn County Sixth District Judge Andrea Purvis has been conducting court in Mound City for more than four months, on Friday she formally became a member of the district judiciary in a “robing” ceremony in the main courtroom at the Linn County Justice Center.
Amy Harth, chief judge of the Sixth Judicial District, presided over the ceremony as Purvis reaffirmed her oath of office in front of a courtroom full of people, including officials from the three counties of the Sixth District, co-workers, area attorneys, long-time friends and family members.
Purvis was chosen by Gov. Laura Kelly in March to fill the vacancy left by retiring Judge Terri Johnson, however, she was not able to take on her duties in Linn County until she became a resident of the county.
The new judge was previously the county attorney for Dickinson County, Kan., and before being elected to that post in 2017, she worked five years as assistant county attorney in that office. She also served as a public defender.
Purvis' new colleagues in the Sixth Judicial District, included retired Judge Terri Johnson, applaud during the robing ceremony.
Before administering the oath to Purvis, Harth said that while Purvis will be the fourth judge or magistrate for the district, plans are to add two more judges in the near future. She also complimented the officials of Linn County for building the new Justice Center, a state-of-the-art building which includes district court offices including two courtrooms, a 190-plus bed jail and the sheriff’s offices.
Following taking the oath on a Bible she received when she was 12, Purvis recounted how grateful she was for the road that led her to becoming a district judge. Daughter of a single mother who was raised on small farm, Purvis said she was thankful for not only the role her grandparents played in her upbringing, but also for the whole community, including her church community, for the support she received.
She thanked the friends and former coworkers who helped her as she attended school and as she moved forward with her career.
“When I was younger, I didn’t believe I would be able to accomplish any of this,” she said. “And because you all believed in me, I think at some point I started believing in myself.”
She said that the growing up in a rural community had a positive impact on her life, and that she believed living and working in Linn County would be a positive experience as well.
“I want you to know that I want to serve my community here,” Purvis said. “I want to be fair, I want to be impartial, I want to be just, I want to be kind, and I want to do what’s right. And I hope I can do that for you.”
After thanking those gathered, she said, “I look forward to keeping in touch with my old friends and making new friends too.”
Andrea and her husband, John Purvis, greet an old friend, Rachel Winter of Kansas City, Kan., who was a classmate of John's at Washburn University in Topeka.