U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown is still serving on the Federal Court in Wichita, Kansas, at 103. His chambers are on the fourth floor of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Wichita. Judge Brown was appointed to the Federal Judge bench during the Kennedy administration.
In the late 90s, I was sent my first Federal Court jury duty summons. This was the first time I had met one of the oldest and semiretired U.S. District court judges. Then Judge Brown was in his 80s. I didn’t serve on a Federal jury then.
It wasn’t until around 2007 I was picked to serve on a Federal Jury case in Judge Brown’s courtroom. At almost a decade later, I was astounded to hear Judge Brown was presiding over this particular case. I had figured he had long retired. I would have thought an eloquent man such as Brown would be spending his time with family or have had passed away by this time.
He seemed to have hardly aged in a decade. He was still as sharp as a tack. If he didn’t like the way the lawyers were heading in their questioning of the jury pool, he would certainly let them know. The same applied during the trial.
If he didn’t quite hear the answer from any of the people from the jury pool, he would ask for you to repeat the answer louder. This wasn’t the case with me. I had a bad case of laryngitis. Judge Brown did ask if I felt up to sitting on the jury before allowing the lawyers to continue with their questioning for selecting their jurors. I did let him know I was fine outside of not being able to speak any louder than I was then.
Judge Brown knows that when his fellow judges and lawyers who serve in his court feels it is time for him to step down as a Federal Judge, he will do so without hesitation and argument. He did tell us on the jury he would do so when the time comes.
His demeanor will change to what I consider a fun loving, caring, and a good hearted man with a wonderful sense of humor. After Judge Brown had finished his duties for the court at the end of the last Federal trial, he wanted the jurors to come to his chambers to meet us.
He told us of his time serving as a Federal Judge, as a mentor to other judges, and a few things about his personal life. He also made the time to ask us what we did for a living and about our families. He told us during the time in his chambers sitting on the bench is one of the things that made him feel young.
I will have to say this about Judge Wesley Brown, he can and will make a person change their mind about judges and the court system after hearing him talk about why he became a judge and why he is still active even as a semiretired judge.
Federal Judge, 103, Still Hearing Cases in Kansas