KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) — The district court judge for Buffalo and Hall counties has announced he will retire this year.

Ninth District Judge William Wright is retiring effective Sept. 30, after 11 years on the bench.

Wright received his law degree in 1977 from University of Nebraska College of Law. He served in private practice in Kearney until being appointed to the 9th District Court bench in 2007.

Wright says drug court, which caters specifically to non-violent, first-time offenders, has by far been "the most proactive and successful program in which I have been involved."

The first step in replacing Wright will be for the Judicial Resources Commission to call a meeting to determine whether, based on judicial workload statistics, his retirement creates a judicial vacancy.