JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Judge Mark H. Neill, a circuit judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit (St. Louis city), sat with the Supreme Court of Missouri during arguments Wednesday morning, November 7, by special designation. Neill was sitting in place of Judge Laura Denvir Stith, who was recused.

“Judge Neill was a welcome colleague on the Court for oral arguments today,” Chief Justice Zel M. Fischer said. “We respect his talent and perspective, and we appreciate his valuable contributions to the case. We are fortunate to have high-quality judges like Judge Neill to whom we can turn for assistance when one of our judges is unable to sit due to recusal or other absence.”

Neill heard the third case on the Court’s November 7 docket: Case No. SC97285, In re: Mary L. Lemp, a disciplinary case involving a St. Louis attorney.

Neill has served as a circuit judge in St. Louis since February 2002. He previously was in the private practice of law for more than 15 years and, before that, spent more than a dozen years with the legal division of the St. Louis metropolitan police department. He earned his bachelor of arts in history in 1971 and his law degree in 1974, both from Saint Louis University.

NAACP presents Commissioner Clarke Ina M. Boon Social Justice Award

Judge Anne-Marie Clarke

Family Court Commissioner Anne-Marie Clarke of the St. Louis Circuit Court is a recipient of the 2018 Ina M. Boon Social Justice Award, presented by the St. Louis City Chapter of the NAACP at its 106th Anniversary Celebration and Freedom Fund Dinner, Oct. 20.

The NAACP wrote in its program, “Clarke has been an advocate for St. Louis children for 30 years. She created the Circuit’s first Truancy Court and the first probation review docket for juvenile offenders. She was the first Black woman appointed to the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners and its first woman president. Clarke is past president of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association and past president of the local Mound City Bar Association.”

Commissioner Clarke practiced family and juvenile law before her appointment as Hearing Officer for the Family Court, Juvenile Division in January 1986. As Hearing Officer, she heard all cases of children in foster care.

She was appointed Family Court Commissioner by the Court En Banc on October 1, 1998 and has been reappointed in 2002, 2005 and 2009. Commissioner Clarke has been assigned to both the Juvenile Division and the Domestic Relations Division, and has served on numerous statewide committees including the Fostering Court Improvement Committee, under the Missouri Supreme Court.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison Receives Award from State Supreme Court Chief Justice Zel Fischer

Judge Rex Burlison

ST. LOUIS (Oct. 1, 2018) — Judge Rex M. Burlison, whose docket this year has included several high-profile and complex civil cases and the pretrial criminal case of former Gov. Eric Greitens, has received the annual Chief Justice’s Circuit Judicial Excellence Award.

Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Zel M. Fiscer presented the award during a breakfast session of the joint annual meeting of The Missouri Bar and the Judicial Conference of Missouri September 27, 2018, at the Hilton St. Louis Ballpark Hotel.

In his remarks, Fischer cited Burlison’s management of several civil cases involving women who allege that they developed ovarian cancer after using talc-based baby powder manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. In addition, he noted that the former governor had asked to waive his right to a jury and have Burlison alone adjudicate criminal charges against him. Burlison denied the motion. Prosecutors dismissed the charges during jury selection for the trial.

Burlison, 64, was appointed to the 22nd Judicial Circuit bench on August 9, 2011, by Governor Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon.

After graduating from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1979, he was in private law practice from 1980 until 2000.

From 1991 until March of 2000, Judge Burlison served five terms as an elected alderman for the City of Cottleville, Mo.

In March of 2000, he was appointed an Associate Circuit Judge for the 11th Judicial Circuit by Gov. Mel Carnahan.

In 2001, Burlison was appointed chief counsel of the Eastern District of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. He served in that capacity until 2009, when Gov. Nixon appointed him director of the Office of the Governor, Eastern Region.

First African American woman elected as St. Louis presiding judge

Judge Robin Ransom
Judge Robin Ransom

The circuit judges of the City of St. Louis on Monday voted unanimously at their en banc meeting to elect Robin Ransom as the first African American female presiding judge of the 22nd Circuit.

“I was humbled,” said Ransom, a circuit judge since 2008 who previously served as commissioner of the city’s family court.

Ransom is the circuit’s assistant presiding judge. She said her colleagues approached her two years ago and encouraged her to submit her name to serve in that role. She did, and she won. Customarily in the 22nd Circuit, the assistant presiding judge later is elected as presiding judge. Ransom will begin her two-year term as presiding judge on Jan. 1, when current presiding Judge Michael K. Mullen’s term expires.

According to local court rules, the presiding judge is “responsible for the administration and management of the Circuit Court.” Circuit spokesman Thom Gross said the position entails serving as probate judge and civil-docketing judge. Other duties include scheduling judicial vacations, handling all contacts with the news media on matters of court policy and approving supply purchases and repair services.

“If it’s a Saturday morning and there’s a hole in the ceiling with water coming through it, they’re the one who gets the call,” Gross said.

Ransom said that one person teased her in reference to her imminent role by saying, “My condolences.”

She is not the first African American to serve as presiding judge. In 1999 and 2000, Judge Michael Calvin served in the same capacity.

Ransom said she is from the Fairground Park neighborhood of North St. Louis and that, as a young person, she drove past the courthouse many times without ever imagining she would be such an integral part of it.

“To have your colleagues say, ‘We respect you as a person, and a black female and a judge,’ I’m really proud,” said Ransom, a 1991 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law.

The St. Louis bench also voted at the meeting to elect Judge Rex Burlison as assistant presiding judge.


Judge David C. Mason Awarded For Leadership and Service

 Judge David C. Mason
Judge David C. Mason

In a ceremony Nov. 28, 2018, the Incarnate Word Foundation will present Circuit Judge David C. Mason its annual Leadership Award, which recognizes “individuals who have worked to provide opportunities for children, youth, women and seniors to reach their full potential and live with dignity as members of our community.”

The Foundation said, “Like the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, you answered the call … to have a soul for God and a heart for our neighbors. Your tireless work to change the justice systems that impact African American youth, your commitment to racial equity, and your work with our city’s most needy at St. Patrick’s Center are a few of the reasons why you have been selected to receive this award.”

Mason, the senior judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri, was appointed circuit judge in August 1991. Prior to his appointment, Judge Mason served as an Assistant Attorney General, general counsel to the Missouri Department of Corrections and was in private practice. Judge Mason has been a teacher of Trial Advocacy for The National Institute for Trial Advocacy, The Yeshiva University Benjamin Cardozo School of Law and several bar associations. He also has served as an adjunct professor of law at the Washington University School of Law since 1989. 

SLU Professor to Lead Judges In Look at Systematic Inequity

Ridding the judicial system of inequities is the goal of a session Sept. 24 at the St. Louis Circuit Court.

Guided by Psychology Professor Richard Harvey of Saint Louis University, judges from the St. Louis Circuit Court, Eastern Missouri Court of Appeals and the Missouri Supreme Court will conduct an examination of systematic inequity and how to avoid it in future decision making.

Harvey earned a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. At SLU, he is an associate professor of psychology with a joint appointment in both the Social Psychology and Industrial/Organizational Psychology programs. He conducts research, teaches, and mentors undergraduate and graduate students in both areas.

His research primarily centers on Collective Identity and its relations to a variety of phenomena social groups and organizations. He is a fellow of the Center for the Application of Behavioral Sciences, through which he provides consultation in the areas of strategic planning, diversity development, organizational development, and program evaluation.

Harvey has earned recognition for his mentoring and teaching, including two outstanding teacher awards, one international teaching award, and one graduate student mentorship award.

Grant from Missouri Humanities Council Funds Course at Juvenile Detention Center

ST. LOUIS (June 26, 2018) — The Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) has awarded a grant of $2,500 to the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center in support of a course titled “Are We Speaking the Same Language?”

Provided through MHC funding, “Are We Speaking the Same Language?” will offer youth the opportunity to:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of language in a social, cultural and historical context.
  • Examine the connection between who we are, how we live and how we speak in a creative and informative way, and how these impact our ability to communicate and interact with others.
  • Develop a deeper sense of self in relation to the world around them. The program will be offered on a weekly basis to youth in detention throughout the course of the year.

The MHC is the only statewide agency in Missouri devoted exclusively to humanities education for citizens of all ages. It has served as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1971.

For more information about the grants program of the Missouri Humanities Council, call 314.781.9660 or 800.357.0909 or write to the MHC, 543 Hanley Industrial Court, Suite 205, St. Louis, MO 63144-1905.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael W. Noble Receives Up & Coming Mentor Award

Judge MIchael W. Noble
Hon. Michael W. Noble

At its annual Up & Coming Awards on Oct. 6, the Missouri Lawyers Weekly awarded the Hon. Michael W. Noble its Mentor Award, which is given to more experienced legal professionals who have played an important role in the development of those starting out in the profession.

The Up & Coming Awards recognize lawyers who are 40 years or younger or within the first 10 years of practice. In addition to the general Up & Coming category, some lawyers are recognized in special categories.

This year, the sheer volume of nominations received was the highest in the collective memory of staff at Missouri Lawyers Media, Publisher Liz Irwin told the crowd. “Make no mistake, to be nominated for our awards means an attorney had a remarkable positive impact,” Irwin said. “To be selected is a testament to outstanding and consistent contribution to Missouri’s legal community.”

A total of 58 attorneys were honored this year at a luncheon at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis. Approximately 300 people attended the event.

Anne-Marie Clarke installed as Chair of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association

Commissioner Anne-Marie Clarke being sworn in as Chair of the National Bar Association Judicial Council by Judge Jon R. Gray (retired) as her husband, Richard K. Gaines, holds the Bible and looks on during the 92nd Annual Meeting of the National Bar Association in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

During the 92nd Annual Meeting of the National Bar Association, St. Louis City Family Court Commissioner was installed as the 47th Chair of the Judicial Council.  Judge Jon R. Gray (retired) administered the oath as her husband, Richard K. Gaines, held the Bible.

Commissioner Clarke will serve as Chair for one year and will preside over the Council’s Mid-Winter meeting in January 2018 and the Annual Meeting in July 28-August 4, 2018. The Annual Meeting will be held in New Orleans, LA during the National Bar Association’s Convention.  Commissioner Clarke has served the Council as an officer and Board member since 2004.  She was Chair of the St. Louis Host Committee for the National Bar Association’s 91st Annual Convention held in St. Louis, July 16-23, 2016.

Commissioner Clarke will focus on Judicial Diversity and Ethnic Fairness. Continuing Education programs presented throughout the year will emphasize these issues.  The Judicial Council is comprised of judicial officers serving on federal, state, municipal and administrative courts across the United States and Canada.  The Judicial Council was founded in 1971 and is a division of the National Bar Association.  The NBA, which was founded in 1925, is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of predominately Black lawyers, judges, law professors and law students.

“I am honored to follow the tradition of legal judicial legends such as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall who is honored at our annual luncheon and Judge A. Leon Higgonbotham of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals who is honored at our Mid-winter meeting.  The Judicial Council brings together judges of varied backgrounds and provides an opportunity to exchange new and exciting ideas.”


St. Louis Circuit Judge Jimmie M. Edwards Elected To National Center for State Courts Board of Directors

Judge Jimmie M. Edwards

ST. LOUIS (June 22, 2017) — The National Center for State Courts has elected St. Louis Circuit Judge Jimmie M. Edwards to a three-year term on its Board of Directors.

Edwards will join the board Aug. 4 at its summer meeting in Philadelphia.

Since October 2015, Edwards has been a member of the National Advisory Board on Community Engagement in the State Courts. That 16-member board is part of the National Center for State Courts’ Conference of Chief Justices and National Consortium for Racial and Ethnic Fairness.

Edwards has served as a St. Louis Circuit Judge for 25 years. He started his legal career in private practice at a small law firm in S. Louis in 1981. In 1984 he joined the Sabreliner Corporation where he was general counsel for six years. He then joined the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company legal staff. Judge Edwards has served as a Special Missouri Supreme Court Judge and has served on the Executive Council for Missouri State Judges and Missouri Habeas Corpus subcommittees.

In 2009, Edwards founded Innovative Concept Academy after recognizing that his hometown was suffering from an unrelenting cycle of juvenile offenders dropping out of school and cementing their path to lifelong criminality. ICA is the first school in America supervised by a judge and dedicated to the last-resort education of juvenile offenders.

Judge Edwards’ efforts have gained national attention. In 2013, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts presented him with the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, one of our nation’s highest judicial awards. Saint Louis University and Eden Theological Seminary each have awarded him honorary doctor of laws degrees. People magazine named him its “Editor’s Choice National Hero” recipient in 2011, and Ebony magazine selected him to its 2013 Power 100 Most Influential in America List.

The National Center for State Courts is an independent, nonprofit court improvement organization founded at the urging of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren E. Burger.  He envisioned NCSC as a clearinghouse for research information and comparative data to support improvement in judicial administration in state courts.