Missouri Supreme Court Recognizes Two Judges Of St. Louis Circuit Court for Science, Tech Achievement

ST. LOUIS (May 28, 2014) — Judge Zel Fischer of the Missouri Supreme Court has presented Judge Steve Ohmer and Judge Edward Sweeney of the St. Louis Circuit Court with certificates as fellows of the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource (ASTAR).

The status of fellow is given to judges who successfully complete 120 hours of court-related science and technology training and have acquired skills to preside over trials that have complex issues related to science or technology.

Fischer presented the awards during a ceremony today at the Civil Courts Building.

Fischer said, “ASTAR judges are evidence gatekeepers. They assure that valid methodology underscores the evidence and assure evidentiary fitness in all trials involving complex or novel scientific or technical information.”

Judges who have earned this award will take case assignments as well as help plan and develop educational programs for other judges. They will help train non-ASTAR judges, serve as a resource about various scientific topics in cases, and act as liaisons to law schools, bar associations and the public. ASTAR judges are trained in scientific and technological topics, including addiction treatment technologies, neuroscience evidence, advanced genetic technologies, computer forensics and cybercrime, DNA science, and advanced forensic technologies.

“This training will not make judges experts in these fields,” Fischer said, “but it will allow judges to be more sensitive to the nuances of complex scientific issues and help them to better perform judicial duties as it relates to admissibility of evidence.”

Ohmer, appointed circuit judge in 2000, presides in Division 13 of the St. Louis Circuit. Sweeney, appointed circuit judge in 2005, presides in Division 20

National College of Probate Judges awards Commissioner Patrick J. Connaghan

VAIL, CO (May 16, 2014) — Patrick J. Connaghan, probate commissioner for the 22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri, received the Judge Isabella Horton Grant Guardianship Award during the Spring Conference of the National College of Probate Judges (NCPJ) at the Four Seasons Hotel here today.


Known as “The Isabella,” the award was established to honor the memory of the late Judge Isabella Grant, a prominent and innovative probate judge from San Francisco, CA. The award is sponsored by The Rutter Group of California and administered by NCPJ. It recognizes and encourages achievements in the field of guardianships of minors and adults. The Award is $1000, and funds are provided for the recipient to attend the Spring Conference.


The award recognizes achievements that may include a variety of activities, such as:

  • Innovative programs leading to improvements in guardianship laws;
  • Articles, treatises, books or other publications of unusual quality and impact on guardianship issues;
  • Leadership roles or other activities in organizations that have led to significant improvements in the laws, administration, or practices in the guardianship field.


As probate commissioner, Connaghan supervises all aspects of decedent and guardianship estates as well as all mental health civil commitment proceedings. He is president of the Missouri Association of Probate and Associate Circuit Judges and serves as chairman of the Association’s Mental Health Committee.


Prior to his appointment as Probate Commissioner he served for 12 years as General Counsel for the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen. He is a 2009 Science and Technology Fellow for The Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center (ASTAR) in Washington D.C. Commissioner Connaghan received his B.A. from Cardinal Glennon College and his J.D. from Saint Louis University Law School.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Jimmie M. Edwards Earns Three Awards For Continuing Work with Innovative Concept Academy

Judge Jimmie M. Edwards

ST. LOUIS (May 1, 2014) — Three St. Louis organizations have chosen to honor St. Louis Circuit Judge Jimmie M. Edwards this month for his work in founding and continuing to lead Innovative Concept Academy (ICA) for troubled students.

In August 2009, in collaboration with Dr. Lewis Chartock of MERS Goodwill and Dr. Kelvin Adams, Superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools, Judge Edwards opened ICA to  provide educational instruction with firmness, compassion, dignity and respect to students who have been expelled from regular schools or who have been disruptive in the classroom.ICA offers students a last chance for the education every child deserves to become a productive citizen and to realize their potential in life. ICA is the first community partnership school in the country overseen by a court system.

Today, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis will recognize his work at ICA in presenting Edwards its 2014 Distinguished Lawyer Award during its Law Day luncheon program at the Renaissance Grand St. Louis Hotel.

On May 16, Eden Theological Seminary will present Edwards an honorary doctor of laws degree in connection with his role at ICA in commencement exercises at the Webster Groves campus.

On May 17, Edwards will be commencement speaker for Saint Louis University and will receive an honorary doctorate of laws degree.

Edwards said, “While it is humbling indeed to be recognized in this way, I am thrilled to accept these awards because individually and collectively they raise up the value of educating all of our citizens — and particularly those who have run into trouble along the way.”