Missouri chief justice honors judges during annual awards ceremony

15 September 2014

Missouri chief justice honors judges during annual awards ceremony

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – At an annual ceremony honoring service to Missouri, Supreme Court of Missouri Chief Justice Mary R. Russell honored seven judges for exemplary contributions to the people of the state. The ceremony was held Thursday morning, September 11 as part of the annual meeting of the Judicial Conference of Missouri, the organization of all state judges, which was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of The Missouri Bar at the Sheraton Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The awardees were Missouri Court of Appeals judges Robert M. Clayton III of the Eastern District and Gary W. Lynch of the Southern District; circuit judges Steven R. Ohmer of the 22nd Judicial Circuit (St. Louis city) and Lisa K. Page of the 23rd Judicial Circuit (Jefferson County); and associate circuit judges Douglas D. Gaston of Texas County, Karl A.W. DeMarce of Scotland County and Dennis Smith of St. Louis County (in the 21st Judicial Circuit).

Gaston received the Judicial Civics Award for his efforts in creating and expanding the Constitution Project, an interactive competition in which high school students – mentored by professionals in their communities – gain hands-on experience in the fields of journalism, crime scene investigation and trial advocacy.

In presenting the Judicial Excellence Award for appellate judges to Lynch, Russell praised his leadership, noting that he “is a workhorse who cannot say ‘no’ when called upon for special projects … whenever we have any tough lifting to do, his phone rings.” Lynch has served as chair or co-chair of a number of Supreme Court committees and recently was elected to the board of directors of the National Center for State Courts, based in Williamsburg, Va.

Ohmer and Page received the Judicial Excellence Award for circuit judges. Russell recognized Ohmer for setting a model of professionalism for all judges. He serves as chair of the circuit court budget committee, co-chair of the judicial weighted workload committee and a member of the family court committee. Russell recognized Page for her “contagious” energy and excitement about projects in which she is involved as well as the “countless hours” she has spent working with the trial judge education committee, this year serving as the chair of advanced trial skills.

Russell presented DeMarce with the Judicial Excellence Award for associate circuit judges, praising his willingness to serve on judicial projects and noting that he a “valuable member of numerous committees,” both for the bench and the Bar.

Smith received the Access to Justice Award for his “steadfast leadership” in developing the official forms for self-represented litigants to use in family law cases throughout the state.

The last award – the Improving Public Trust and Confidence Award – was presented to Clayton. Russell noted that, during his one-year term as chief judge of the Eastern District appeals court, Clayton accomplished his goal of speaking in each of the 26 counties the district encompasses. Russell noted this allowed him to meet “many citizens who had probably never met an appellate judge before.”