Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Steve Leben will resign in June to become a visiting professor of law at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, Mo.


Leben, of Fairway, was appointed to the appellate court in 2007. He had been a district court judge in Johnson County for 14 years.


He worked as a part-time instructor since 2007 at the University of Kansas’ law school.


"I’ve greatly enjoyed helping those students get a grasp both of the subjects I’ve taught and a bigger picture about our justice system," Leben said. "So, I’ve decided to go full time in teaching tomorrow’s lawyers, who will be the future protectors of our rights.“


He said the appointment at UMKC would allow him to continue advocating for procedural fairness in the court system.


“We at UMKC law are thrilled to welcome Judge Leben, an outstanding jurist, scholar and teacher, to our faculty,“ said Barbara Glesner Fines, dean of UMKC’s law school.


Leben was appointed to the district court bench by Gov. Joan Finney and promoted to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Gov. Laura Kelly, also a Democrat, will be responsible for selecting his replacement on the Court of Appeals.


Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert said Leben set a standard for clear and well-reasoned decisions and led efforts to improve the nation’s judicial system.


“He has served as a mentor to many of us, and his keen intellect will be sorely missed," said Karen Arnold-Burger, chief judge of the Court of Appeals.