KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge's ruling means Jackson County political party leaders — rather than voters — will choose the county's sheriff for the next two years.

Former Sheriff Mike Sharp resigned in April in the middle of a four-year term. A state law says party leaders can pick their nominee to be sheriff when the job is vacated voluntarily in a year when the job would not be up for election.

The Kansas City Star reports the county Democratic Party committee claimed in a lawsuit that the County Legislature's clerk didn't have authority to open a one-week window in May allowing candidates to file to compete in their party primaries.

Circuit Court Judge David Michael Byrn agreed Tuesday, and the county won't appeal.

Each party's committee will select a nominee for a general election race.

___

Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com