Twenty-First Circuit Judicial Commission announces panel of nominees

10 December 2007

Twenty-First Circuit Judicial Commission announces panel of nominees

ST. LOUIS - The Twenty-First Circuit Judicial Commission announced its panel of three nominees to be submitted to Gov. Blunt to fill the vacancy on the St. Louis County Circuit Court created by the retirement of Judge Emmett M. O'Brien, effective December 11, 2007.

In alphabetical order, the panel consists of Mary Elizabeth Ott, Thomas J. Plunkert and the Honorable Ellen Levy Siwak.

Mary Elizabeth Ott is a sole practitioner in private practice in St. Louis County. Her practice focuses on criminal defense, and family law, at the trial and appellate court levels in both the state and federal systems. Ott received a bachelor of arts in 1982 from St. Mary's College, and received her law degree in 1985 from the St. Louis University School of Law.

Tom Plunkert is a life-long resident of St. Louis. He attended St. Louis Priory and St. Louis University School of Law. Plunkert has practiced in the area of civil litigation for over 30 years. He served on the Missouri Bar Board of Governors and on statewide commissions and committees. Plunkert is married and has two children.

The Honorable Ellen Levy Siwak has served as an associate circuit judge presiding in division 38 of the St. Louis County Circuit Court since May 2002. Prior to her appointment, Siwak served as a family court commissioner in division 63 of the St. Louis County Family Court for three years. Siwak was a partner at Rosenblum, Goldenhersh, Silverstein & Zafft in the litigation department where her practice focused on commercial, civil and domestic litigation. She received her law degree from Washington University in May 1988. In addition to her current criminal court docket she has served in civil, equitable and family court assignments. Siwak recently served as president of the Missouri Association of Probate and Associate Circuit Judges and president of the St. Louis County Directors of the National Association of Women Judges. Siwak is a frequent lecturer and has served on the faculty of the Missouri State Judicial College and Judicial Orientation Programs. She resides in St. Louis County with her family and is an active community volunteer.

The commission believes these candidates, chosen from a field of extremely qualified individuals, possess the qualities of compassion, intellect and high moral purpose essential to the fair and efficient administration of justice. They have the trial experience and sense of fairness that the commission knows is required to administer justice to the people of St. Louis County and the State of Missouri, and the commision proudly presents these names to Blunt for his decision. The commission is confident all of these individuals are capable of serving well and honorably if selected by the governor.

The members of the Twenty-First Circuit Judicial Commission are Chief Judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals Patricia L. Cohen, Debbie Champion, Patrick Dudley, Gerard Noce and Laurie Westfall.

For interview requests or questions about the panel, please contact Laura Roy, clerk of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, at (314) 539-4300.