22nd Judicial Circuit Court Implements Mask Mandate for Jury Assembly Room

By administrative order of Presiding Judge Michael F. Stelzer, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court this week announced it is implementing a temporary mask mandate for its jury assembly room on the first floor of the Civil Courts Building in downtown St. Louis.

The mandate will take effect on Monday, July 25, 2022 and will continue through at least Friday, September 2, 2022. It applies to all Court employees, members of the public summoned for jury duty, and any other person inside any portion of the jury assembly room at any time.

The jury assembly room is an indoor space and the Court’s most high-traffic area where groups of dozens of people routinely gather at a single time over the course of carrying out their jury service almost every week of the year. As such, and because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to encourage mask wearing in crowded indoor spaces, the Court believes this precautionary measure is an important step toward helping reduce potential spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and safety of its staff, their families, the community at large, and all individuals with whom it regularly interacts.

The City of St. Louis and surrounding communities have continued to experience steady increases in the number of new COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the City of St. Louis Department of Health list the current community level of COVID-19 as HIGH and the current level of transmission as HIGH.

22nd Judicial Circuit Court Treatment Court Commencement Honors New Graduates, Judge Woodiest

It was a bittersweet evening this past Monday as the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s Treatment Court held its 139th annual commencement ceremony.

Three new graduates received their diplomas for successfully completing the program and were congratulated with rounds of applause for their tremendous hard work, progress, and success.

But there were also some more poignant and reflective moments — and a few tears shed — when it came time to recognize the Hon. Rochelle Woodiest for many accomplisments.

The Hon. Rochelle Woodiest honored for her service as Commissioner of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s Treatment Court program

Woodiest, who was recently appointed by Governor Mike Person to serve as the Court’s newest Associate Circuit Judge, will be stepping away from her current position as Treatment Court Commissioner, making this her last commencement ceremony. Though, she has vowed to continue attending them in full support of future graduates and the mission of the award-winning program.

Attendees at the commencement ceremony give the Hon. Rochelle Woodiest a standing ovation and round of applause

Woodiest has helped lead the Treatment Court program since her appointment as commissioner in 2013, and as her fellow commissioner, the Hon. Matt Melton, said, “…the program would probably not exist without her. Many people owe their freedom, happiness, success, and peace to her.”

The Hon. Matt Melton and the Hon. Rochelle Woodiest preside over the 139th annual commencement ceremony of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s Treatment Court

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court congratulates Judge Woodiest and thanks her for her years of service and continued commitment to the judiciary.

22nd Judicial Circuit Court Shares Procedural, Logistical Information for State of Missouri v. Stephan Cannon

Recognizing the high-profile nature of the case, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court would like to share procedural and logistical information for members of the general public or news media who might be interested in observing or covering State of Missouri v. Stephan Cannon.

BACKGROUND: Defendant Cannon, 26, is charged with one count of first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action, one count of first-degree burglary, stealing – $750 or more, and unlawful possession of a firearm. He remains detained on no bond. Charges stem from the June 2, 2020 shooting death of David Dorn in the 4100 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in the City of St. Louis.

PROCEDURIAL: Voir dire (jury selection) is scheduled to begin at approximately 9 am on Friday, July 15, 2022 in Division 13 with the Hon. Theresa Counts Burke presiding. Division 13 is located on the seventh floor of the Civil Courts Building at 10 N. Tucker Blvd. in downtown St. Louis. Seventy-two people have been summoned by the Court to appear for jury selection in this matter. The Court anticipates a jury of 12 with three alternates will be seated in one day. Opening statements and the presentation of witnesses and evidence are scheduled to begin at approximately 9 am on Monday, July 18. The Court does not expect proceedings to last more than one week.

SECURITY: All members of the public and news media will be required to go through a security checkpoint every time they wish to enter the Civil Courts Building. This is for their safety and the safety of everyone else in and around the premises. No prohibited items, such as weapons, will be allowed inside and are subject to confiscation by the Sheriff’s Office.

COVID-19: Based on current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the City of St. Louis Department of Health, the Court does not currently have a mandate requiring face masks. Therefore, members of the public and news media are not currently required to wear one at this time. However, the Court wishes to make clear that absolutely anyone who chooses to wear a face mask or covering should feel welcome to do so and comfortable to take any other additional precautions they feel are necessary to protect themselves.

COURTROOM ACCESS: On Friday, July 15, there will be NO access to Division 13 by members of the public or news media. All available courtroom seating will be needed to accommodate the larger than normal pool of potential jurors. There will, though, be an overflow viewing room for the duration of the trial located on the 4th floor of the Civil Courts Building in a conference room across from the Ceremonial Courtroom. Beginning Monday, July 18, two rows in Division 13 will be reserved strictly for members of the news media with all other seating being open to the public on a first come, first served basis. There will be no live stream.

CAMERAS & ELECTRONIC DEVICES: There will be no still photography, videography, and/or audio recording permitted inside Division 13 for any reason at any point during voir dire or the trial, except as follows: Beginning Monday, July 18, and continuing every day of trial thereafter, one pool video camera and one pool still camera will be allowed inside Division 13 at 8:45 am to photograph and record video of the courtroom and its occupants (with the exception of the jury) until 9:00 am. All cameras will then be removed from the courtroom for the day. The video and still images obtained during this 15 minute window will be made available to all news media outlets requesting them and are not for the exclusive use of the photographer or videographer. Working in collaboration with the Court’s Chief Communications Officer, it will be the responsibility of the Court-appointed media coordinator to assign and arrange a pool videographer and photographer for each day of trial and to ensure all photos and videos are distributed to all news media efficiently, fairly, and with immediacy. Additionally, it will be the expectation of the Court that every other aspect of Missouri Supreme Court Operating Rule 16 will be complied with in full by all news media. Violations of Rule 16 or Judge Burke’s order granting limited media access will be handled accordingly. Cell phones and laptops will be permitted for use inside Division 13 during trial so long as they’re not distracting to the Court or used to record or photograph any of the proceedings at any time. Interviews or any other form of news gathering are not permitted in Division 13 or any other location inside the Civil Courts Building and must be conducted outside.4

DOCUMENTS: There is a public access computer on the first floor of the Civil Courts Building near the main entrance off Tucker Blvd. and Market St. There are also public access computers on the third floor for viewing publicly available documents related to this case. On Missouri Case.Net, it’s Cause No. 2022-CR01577.

WIFI/INTERNET ACCESS: There is free public WIFI in and around Division 13 under the name “Judicial_Circuit_CCH”. No password is required.

OTHER: If you have any questions or require additional information or accommodations, please contact Chief Communications Officer Jacob Long at Jacob.Long@courts.mo.gov or (314) 622-5685.

Governor Mike Parson Appoints the Hon. Rochelle Woodiest as Associate Circuit Judge for 22nd Judicial Circuit Court

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of the State of Missouri, which proudly serves the City of St. Louis, is today pleased to share that Governor Mike Parson has announced the appointment of the Hon. Rochelle Woodiest as its newest Associate Circuit Judge.

The Hon. Rochelle Woodiest

The appointment fills the vacancy created by the recent appointment of the Hon. Thomas A. McCarthy to Circuit Judge.

Commissioner Woodiest currently serves as one of two commissioners who oversee the 22nd Judicial Circuit’s award-winning Treatment Court program, having been appointed in 2013 and recommissioned in 2017 and 2021. In this role, she presides in both the adult drug court and family and juvenile courts.

Commissioner Woodiest earned a B.A. from Iowa State University and a J.D. from St. Louis University.

A passionate and devoted public servant, Woodiest also previously spent more than 10 years as a trial attorney for the City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office, including more than four years as the Director of Drug Court Prosecution in the adult drug court program.

Governor Parson Appoints the Hon. Craig K. Higgins as Circuit Judge for 22nd Judicial Circuit Court

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of the State of Missouri, which proudly serves the City of St. Louis, is today pleased to share that Governor Mike Parson has announced the appointment of the Hon. Craig K. Higgins, as its newest Circuit Judge.

The Hon. Craig K. Higgins

The appointment fills the vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of the Hon. James Sullivan.

Judge Higgins, a lifelong resident of the City of St. Louis who grew up in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood, currently serves as an Associate Circuit Judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, having been appointed in 2019. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia and a J.D. from Drake University.

Judge Higgins also previously spent more than 20 years serving in the Office of the City Counselor for the City of St. Louis, including more than seven years as Attorney Manager for the Municipal Prosecution Division.