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Three nominated to fill new district court judgeship in northeast Wyoming

George Hodan

The governor’s office has received three nominations for a new district court judge in the Sixth Judicial District, according to the Wyoming Judicial branch. The district serves Campbell, Crook and Weston counties.

The vacancy, which brings the total number of judge seats to four, was announced by Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice Kate Fox in March.

The seat itself is a new addition. Funded by the 2024 legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mark Gordon in March, SF0053 appropriated over $1 million for the funding and creation of the fourth judge seat.

The nominees were reviewed and chosen by the Judicial Nominating Commission, an independent group made up of three lawyers elected by the Wyoming State Bar and three non-lawyer citizens appointed by the governor. The group is headed by Wyoming Supreme Court chief justice.

The nominees, in no particular order, are Alison Ochs Gee, Micheal McGrady, and Ronald Wirthwein Jr.

Gee is based in Gillette, currently holds a master’s degree in tax law and has experience working with ranchers on estate issues. She’s also on the board of trustees at Gillette Community College. In 2016, she was honored by the Wyoming Business Report’s Women of Influence award, under the energy category.

McGrady is based in Green River, and is a natural resource and energy attorney. In 2017, he was one of five attorneys who lectured at a law clinic for University of Wyoming students. He’s served in advisor roles as well, namely with the governor’s office on issues such as coal leasing and uranium production.

Wirthwein Jr. is also based in Gillette, and is a partner with the Nick Carter Law Firm. Wirthwein has been licensed in criminal defense for nearly two decades and served as the Campbell County attorney after winning elections in 2014 and 2018. He’s the only nominee who has been previously nominated for a judgeship for the Sixth Judicial District in 2022.

The governor now has less than 30 days to appoint a nominee to the position.

Jordan Uplinger was born in NJ but has traveled since 2013 for academic study and work in Oklahoma, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He gained experience in a multitude of areas, including general aviation, video editing, and political science. In 2021, Jordan's travels brought him to find work with the Wyoming Conservation Corps as a member of Americorps. After a season with WCC, Jordan continued his Americorps service with the local non-profit, Feeding Laramie Valley. His deep interest in the national discourse on class, identity, American politics and the state of material conditions globally has led him to his current internship with Wyoming Public Radio and NPR.
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