Judge Colbert-Botchway Reappointed to ABA House of Delegates

The Missouri Bar Board of Governors recently reappointed the Hon. Nicole Colbert-Botchway to serve as a representative on the American Bar Association House of Delegates.

The House of Delegates serves as the policy-making body of the American Bar Association and is comprised of legal professionals from local and state bars from around the country.

The Hon. Nicole Colbert-Botchway

“I will continue to provide valued service and be responsive to the diverse needs of our membership while supporting the ABA’s mission to equally serve our members, our profession, and the public as the national representative of the legal profession,” she said.

Judge Colbert-Botchway is an associate circuit judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court and currently assigned to Family Court in Division 16.

She was on the bar’s Board of Governors from 2012-2016 and has served in several roles for the ABA. She is a proud graduate of St. Louis University School of Law and University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Judge Colbert-Botchway joined the Missouri Bar in 1997.

22nd Judicial Circuit Court Announces Retirement of Probate Commissioner Patrick J. Connaghan

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court today announced that longtime Probate Commissioner Patrick J. Connaghan is retiring with plans to return to private practice, effective Wednesday, June 1.

Retiring Probate Commissioner Patrick J. Connaghan

Connaghan was appointed as the Court’s Probate Commissioner in 2007 after previously serving as General Counsel and Clerk for the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen for approximately 12 years.

He is a Past President of the Missouri Association of Probate and Associate Circuit Judges and a 2009 Science and Technology Fellow for the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center (ASTAR) in Washington D.C.

In 2014, Connaghan received the Isabella Horton Grant Guardianship Award from the National College of Probate Judges. Commissioner Connaghan is a proud 1983 graduate of St. Louis University School of Law.

The Court wishes to thank Commissioner Connaghan for his many years of dedicated service to our local judiciary and for his many contributions to our community and the legal profession.

Succeeding Connaghan will be Jill Hanley, who was appointed by the Court En Banc on Tuesday, May 31 to serve as the new Probate Commissioner. Hanley previously served as Deputy Probate Commissioner and Public Administrator for the City of St. Louis.

May 2022 Declared “Drug Court Month” in the City of St. Louis

By proclamation of Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, May 2022 has officially been declared as “Drug Court Month” in the City of St. Louis.

The accolade coincides with “National Drug Court Month”, which is observed each May by drug and treatment courts across the country and is coordinated by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

It’s also in recognition of the recent 25th anniversary of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s treatment court program, which began in April 1997 and is now the second-longest running such program in Missouri.

“We’re grateful for this recognition from Mayor Jones and the City of St. Louis and are happy to have their support. It’s important that our elected leaders in local government understand the difference treatment court is making in the lives of our residents and their families,” said the Hon. Rochelle Woodiest, Treatment Court Commissioner for the 22nd Judicial Circuit.

“Treatment courts such as ours provide evidence-based treatment and judicial oversight and accountability to help lead people out of the grips of addiction and related crime and help put them on a path toward recovery and hope. We thank Mayor Jones and the City for helping to bring attention to our hardworking staff who help carry out this mission every day,” said the Hon. Matthew Melton, Treatment Court Commissioner for the 22nd Judicial Circuit.

Wilford Pinkney Jr., the Director of Children, Youth, and Families for Mayor Jones, present the Hon. Rochelle Woodiest and the Hon. Matthew Melton, Treatment Court Commissioners for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, with a proclamation declaring May 2022 “Drug Court Month” in the City of St. Louis

The proclamation from Mayor Jones reads:

WHEREAS, The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court is the proud home to Missouri’s second longest running treatment court program at 25 years old.  The award-winning program has helped approximately 2,200 St. Louisans break the cycle of addiction through recovery and accountability; and 

WHEREAS, Treatment courts have been restoring lives and families for more than three decades.  There are now nearly 4,000 treatment courts nationwide; and they are the cornerstone of justice reform sweeping the nation; and 

WHEREAS, Treatment courts have served more than 1.5 million individuals.  They are now recognized as the most successful justice system intervention in our nation’s history.  They save an average of $6,000 for every individual they serve; and 

WHEREAS, Treatment courts significantly improve substance use disorder treatment outcomes, substantially reduce addiction and related crime, and do so at less expense than any other criminal justice strategy; and 

WHEREAS, Treatment courts improve education, employment, housing, and financial stability, promote family reunification, reduce foster care placements, and increase the rate of addicted mothers delivering babies who are fully drug free; and 

WHEREAS, Treatment courts facilitate community-wide partnerships, bringing together public safety and public health; and they demonstrate that when one person rises out of substance use and crime, we all rise. 

Now, therefore, I, Tishaura O. Jones, Mayor of the City of St. Louis, do hereby proclaim the month of May 2022 as:

“DRUG COURT MONTH”

IN THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the seal of the City of St. Louis, this 1st day of May, A.D. 2022.  

The proclamation was presented Monday, May 23 by Wilford Pinkney Jr., the mayor’s Director of Children, Youth, and Families, during a regularly scheduled treatment court graduation ceremony.

Three additional individuals were recognized for successfully completing the program before a crowd of friends, family, supporters, and previous graduates.

Circuit Judge Mason Honored for Organizing New Freedom Suits Memorial

The Hon. David C. Mason has been recognized for his leadership and vision in organizing a new memorial in downtown St. Louis honoring the history and legacy of the Freedom Suits.

The Royal Vagabonds Foundation awarded Judge Mason with its 2022 Leadership Award for civic engagement along with attorney Paul Venker of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice. Venker serves as chair of a the Freedom Suits Memorial Steering Committee and has been instrumental in helping making the project a reality and organizing support among local legal and civic-minded communities.

The Hon. David C. Mason
Attorney Paul Venker

The memorial, which will be formally unveiled during a 5 p.m. ceremony on Monday, June 20 on the east plaza of the Civil Courts Building, honors hundreds of courageous enslaved plaintiffs who sued for their freedom in the years leading up to the Civil War. Learn more from the St. Louis Bar Foundation here.

Circuit Judge Christopher McGraugh Visits with Lafayette Square Neighbors

With the continued and sustained decline of the level of COVID-19 viral activity in the St. Louis community, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court is again accepting invitations to appear and speak at various public meetings and events.

Community engagement is extremely important to the Court, which is eager to re-engage with residents about a variety of relevant issues in a meaningful, informative, and constructive dialogue.

On Wednesday, May 11, Circuit Judge Christopher McGraugh was on hand at SqWires Annex for a regular meeting of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee (LSRC).

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The Hon. Christopher McGraugh speaking with members of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee on Wednesday, May 11 at SqWires Annex.

Judge McGraugh, who’s assigned to division 19 of the circuit court, spoke about the latest impacts of COVID-19 on general court operations and the process in which judges are selected and retained in the City of St. Louis under the Missouri Plan.

He also gave those in attendance an update on some changes to jury service and helped provide insight into some of the determinations judges are required by law to make regarding criminal defendants pretrial.

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The Hon. Christopher McGraugh speaking with members of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee on Wednesday, May 11 at SqWires Annex.

The Court wishes to thank the members and leadership of LSRC for inviting Judge McGraugh to come speak. If you or your organization are interested in having a judge or representative of the Court attend one of your events, please reach out to Chief Communications Officer Jacob Long at Jacob.Long@courts.mo.gov or (314) 622-5685.

Governor Parson Appoints the Hon. Thomas A. McCarthy as Circuit Judge for 22nd Judicial Circuit Court

The 22nd Judicial Circuit of the State of Missouri, which proudly serves the City of St. Louis, is pleased to share that today, Governor Mike Parson appointed the Hon. Thomas A. McCarthy as its newest Circuit Judge.

The Hon. Thomas A. McCarthy

The appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement earlier this year by the Hon. David L. Dowd.

Judge McCarthy, of St. Louis, currently serves as one of the Court’s Associate Circuit Judges, having been appointed to that position in 2018. He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from Truman State University and his J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law.

Judge McCarthy also previously worked in private practice and served as both an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in St. Louis County and an Assistant City Counselor for the City of St. Louis.

Missouri Families 4 Families Honors 22nd Judicial Circuit’s Juvenile Division with Shining Light Award

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s Juvenile Division was honored on Saturday, April 16 with the Shining Light Award from Missouri Families 4 Families for its Team Support Approach (TSA) and the positive impact it is having in improving the outcomes of justice involved youth in the City of St. Louis.

“The kids we serve work extremely hard and sometimes don’t receive the recognition they deserve,” said Amanda Sodomka, Chief Juvenile Officer for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court. “That’s what makes this recognition so affirming. Thank you to Missouri Families 4 Families for shining a light on the many success stories of our youth, their families, their support networks, and communities.”

Under the TSA, key people are brought together to discuss youths’ strengths and needs, identify and provide resources, and make strength-based plans that will provide for the youth’s safety, repair harm to the victim(s) or community, and accountability through strengthening competency skills while ensuring community safety.

The goal of the TSA is to involve families and their support systems, community members, along with caregivers, service providers and agency staff in all decisions regarding planning options and to ensure a timely network of support for youth and the adults who care for them.

When possible, the family and community’s strengths are used to form a treatment plan that enable youth to safely remain home with appropriate services. When this is not possible, plans are made that reflect the least restrictive placement possible for each youth that will keep the child and community safe as well as preserve and nurture the child’s familial and community connections.

“It’s really all about teamwork. With the TSA, our Juvenile Division strives to achieve the principles that youth and families need strong, consistent, and nurturing communities in order to provide opportunities for them to do better, feel included in the decision-making process, and be set up for success in the future,” Sodomka added.

Established by parents from St. Louis, Springfield, and Jefferson City in 2006, Missouri Families 4 Families is a statewide nonprofit run by families. At least half of the parents/caregivers involved have children/youth with social, emotional, and/or behavioral needs. The staff are also parents/caregivers/grandparents with similar experiences.

According to the group, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s Juvenile Division was selected for this year’s Shining Light Award because of its dedication to bridging the gap between families and the Court and providing positive support and services to those it serves.

You can watch the awards ceremony on the Missouri Families 4 Families Facebook page here.

Associate Circuit Judges Peebles, Roither Visit with Gravois Park Neighbors

With the continued and sustained decline of the level of COVID-19 viral activity in the St. Louis community, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court is again accepting invitations to appear and speak at various public meetings and events.

Community engagement is extremely important to the Court, which is eager to re-engage with residents about a variety of relevant issues in a meaningful, informative, and constructive dialogue.

On Wednesday evening, Associate Circuit Judges Barbara K. Peebles and David A. Roither were on hand at the Rita Ford Community Center for a regular meeting of the Gravois Park Neighborhood Association.

Associate Circuit Judge Barbara K. Peebles speaking to engaged residents at the Rita Ford Community Center in Gravois Park on Wednesday, April 12.

The judges spoke about their individual judicial experiences, provided updates regarding Court operations and procedures and juvenile law in Missouri, and answered questions about public safety from those in attendance.

Associate Circuit Judge David A. Roither speaking to engaged residents at the Rita Ford Community Center in Gravois Park on Wednesday, April 12.

The Court would like to thank the neighbors of Gravois Park for having us!

If you and your organization are interested in having a judge come speak, please reach out to Chief Communications Officer Jacob Long at Jacob.Long@courts.mo.gov.

22nd Circuit Commission Seeks Applicants for Impending Circuit, Associate Circuit Judicial Vacancies

The 22nd Circuit Judicial Commission (City of St. Louis) is accepting applications for the circuit judge vacancy created by the impending retirement of the Hon. James Sullivan and for the associate circuit judge vacancy that is expected to be created by Governor Michael L. Parson’s appointment of one of three associate circuit judges nominated to fill the circuit judge vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. David Dowd earlier this year.

The commission encourages qualified individuals to apply for judicial office. Qualifications for circuit judges and associate circuit judges may be found in article V, section 21 of the Missouri Constitution.

Application forms are linked below.

Application: Word | PDF

Instructions: Word | PDF

Applicants who previously applied for the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David Dowd may send a letter to the chairperson of the commission requesting that their previous application be transferred to the current opening. Applicants who wish to be considered for both openings shall send two letters, one for each opening.  Please also send copies of such letters to each commissioner. 

Applications, including Page 1 Confidential Information, or any letters requesting the previous application be transferredmust be received by the chairperson no later than 5 p.m. May 6, 2022, although earlier submission is encouraged.  

The commission expects to conduct interviews June 6 and 7, 2022 in the Division Courtroom of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, at 815 Olive Street, St. Louis, Missouri. In accordance with Rule 10.28, the interviews will be open to the public. Immediately upon the conclusion of the public interviews, the commission expects to meet and select the nominees for both vacancies to be submitted to the governor.

The members of the 22nd Circuit Judicial Commission are: Sherri Sullivan, chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, and chairperson of the commission; Matt Devoti; J. Brent Dulle, secretary of the commission; Chris Goodson; and André Harris.

22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s Treatment Court Program Honored for 25 Years of Distinguished Service, Excellence

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of the State of Missouri, which proudly serves the City of St. Louis, is pleased to share that its award-winning treatment court program will be honored today, Thursday, March 31, by the Missouri Association of Treatment Court Professionals for 25 years of distinguished service and excellence during the organization’s annual conference in Branson, Mo.

Leadership and team members from the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s Treatment Court program

“Of course, we do not do what we do for the awards or accolades. We are here to help some of the most vulnerable among us caught in the merciless grasp of addiction or a mental health crisis,” said the Hon. Matt Melton. “However, our team is deeply appreciative and honored to be recognized by other treatment court professionals from across Missouri for a quarter century of working to make a difference.”

Founded on April 7, 1997, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s treatment court program is the second longest running treatment court in the state. It is a specialized evidence-based, diversionary court docket designed for nonviolent adult criminal offenders, juvenile offenders, and parents with pending child welfare cases with demonstrated histories of mental health problems and/or drug and alcohol dependency and related crime.

Led by two commissioners, the Hon. Matt Melton and the Hon. Rochelle Woodiest, the program involves a multidisciplinary team of court professionals working collaboratively through a holistic approach to divert these individuals from the traditional and costly incarceration model of the criminal justice system by connecting them to tools and resources to rebuild their lives with intense supervision, judicial oversight, and personal accountability. The work also involves participation from judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, social workers, case managers, probation officers, service providers, and other subject matter experts.

“What treatment court does is offer these individuals a chance to be a more productive member of society while putting them on a path toward a successful recovery,” added Commissioner Woodiest. “Through available services and resources, they are able to earn a living, find stable housing, stay with their families, pay taxes, and/or finish their education. That benefits absolutely everyone and makes us a safer, stronger community.”

To date, it’s estimated that the 22nd Judicial Circuit’s treatment court program has successfully graduated approximately 2,200 individuals.

While participant eligibility, program duration, and requirements differ person to person, each must demonstrate abstinence from drugs and alcohol, satisfy rigorous treatment and supervision conditions, complete program requirements, and pay applicable fees and restitution in order to graduate.

To learn more about the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s treatment court program, please visit the Court’s website here.

To learn more about the Missouri Association of Treatment Court Professionals, please visit their website here.