Four female judges sit on Supreme Court bench for first time in Court's history

3 April 2008


Four female judges sit on Supreme Court bench for first time in Court's history


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Honorable Kathianne Knaup Crane of the Court of Appeals, Eastern District, joined Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stith and judges Mary R. Russell and Patricia Breckenridge to sit on the Supreme Court of Missouri bench, marking the first time in the history of the Court that the number of female judges outnumbered the number of male judges.

Crane sat on the Supreme Court bench as a visiting judge to hear two cases on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, after judges Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., and Michael A. Wolff recused themselves.

The Honorable Ann Covington was the first female judge appointed to Supreme Court of Missouri. She was appointed in December 1988, and was the first female to serve as chief justice of the Court from July 1993 through June 1995. Covington stepped down from the Court in 2001 and Stith was appointed to take her place.

Stith is the second female chief justice for the Supreme Court and her term as chief justice will end in July 2009. She previously served as a judge on the Court of Appeals, Western District from 1994 to 2001.

Russell and Breckenridge, were appointed in 2004 and 2007, respectively. Russell was appointed to the Court of Appeals, Eastern District, in 1995 and served as chief judge of that court from 1999-2000. Breckenridge, the newest member of the Supreme Court, was appointed in 1982 to serve as an associate circuit judge in Vernon County in the Twenty-Eighth Judicial Circuit. She was elected to that position in 1982, 1986 and 1990. In December 1990, she was appointed to the Court of Appeals, Western District.

Crane was appointed to the court of appeals in July 1990 and served as the chief judge of that court from 1995 to 1996.

The Honorable Joseph Dandurand of the Court of Appeals, Western District, also sat with the Supreme Court on April 2 as a visiting judge. Dandurand was the presiding judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit before he was appointed to the court of appeals in December 2007.

For additional information, please contact Mary Epping, deputy communications counsel at 573-751-0418 or e-mail to mary.epping@courts.mo.gov.

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