Supreme Court selects legislative counsel as new state courts administrator

7 November 2007

Supreme Court selects legislative counsel as new state courts administrator

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Supreme Court of Missouri has selected its commission counsel, Gregory J. Linhares, to serve as its new state courts administrator, the chief administrator overseeing Missouri's state court system. Since December 2002, Linhares has served as counsel to the Judicial Finance Commission, which helps resolve funding disputes among the state's circuit courts, and as legislative liaison, in which he helped develop policy options for judicial operations and lobbied legislators and executive branch officials regarding matters of legislative and budgetary interest.

"We are delighted that Greg has agreed to take on the even more important role of Missouri's state courts administrator," Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stith said. "Greg has proven his dedication to the courts, judges and court staff in Missouri during his past five years of service to the Court as commission counsel and to the Judicial Conference as legislative liaison. This experience, his legal training and his prior experience as a legislative attorney give Greg a unique familiarity with the judicial and legislative branches of government and a vast understanding of the needs of our state's court system. We are confident his experience and leadership will serve him well as our new state courts administrator."

As commission counsel and legislative liaison, Linhares worked closely with his predecessor as state courts administrator, Michael Buenger, as well as with OSCA staff and judges throughout Missouri. In his new capacity as state courts administrator, Linhares will oversee and manage: strategic planning for the Missouri judiciary; development and implementation of court policies; preparation of annual budgets; drafting of proposed legislation; testimony provided to the state legislature; improvement of information technology and statewide case management systems; research and evaluation of court programs; and statistical recordkeeping.

"I am extremely honored to accept the position of state courts administrator," Linhares said. "I have been fortunate enough to serve as commission counsel under the great leadership of Tom Simon and the judges of the Court for the past five years, but I look forward to the challenges that await me at OSCA. The cooperative spirit that Mike Buenger, Gary Waint and all of the staff at OSCA have worked so diligently to build in recent years is truly impressive, and in the coming years I hope to continue their long-term efforts to improve the ways in which our court system serves the citizens of Missouri."

Linhares, also a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve who currently is deployed with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division to Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Ga., is expected to begin working in his new position after the Army releases him from active duty in 2008. The interim state courts administrator, Gary Waint, will continue to serve in that capacity until Linhares is able to return to Missouri.

"We are pleased that the state courts administrator's office will have the continued guidance of Gary Waint until Greg's current military deployment ends in the early part of 2008," Stith said. "We also are pleased that Gary will stay on in a key administrative capacity thereafter. Gary's administrative expertise and leadership – as well as the work of OSCA's experienced management team – serve the people of Missouri well. Greg has worked with all of OSCA's leaders, and they have a great deal of mutual respect. As a result, we expect Greg to have a smooth transition into his new leadership role in the state courts administrator's office."

A native of St. Louis, Linhares earned his bachelor's degree in history in December 1994 from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., and his law degree in May 1998 from Saint Louis University School of Law. Following his graduation from law school, he worked as a staff attorney and bill drafter for the Missouri Joint Committee on Legislative Research, then as a legislative analyst for the Missouri House of Representatives. He was working as chief of staff and counsel to the House majority floor leader when he was hired by the Supreme Court. For his services as commission counsel and legislative liaison, he has been honored with the President's Award by two different presidents of the Missouri Association of Probate and Associate Judges.

In addition, Linhares has served since December 2000 as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps. In his current deployment in Georgia, he supervises all legal assistance efforts at Hunter Army Airfield and works with an average of 35 military staff each week on a vast array of civil legal matters. Prior to his current deployment, he served the 8th Legal Support Organization as a legal assistance attorney, military prosecutor, ethics counselor and legal advisor to several Army Reserve detachments. For his military service, Linhares has been awarded the Army Service Ribbon, the National Defense Service Ribbon and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal. He also twice has been awarded both the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal.

Linhares and his wife, Kim FaQuin Linhares, and their children, Matthew and Clara, live in Columbia, Mo. Linhares replaces Michael Buenger, who left Missouri in July 2007 for Kosovo, where he is working with the National Center for State Courts' international division on court reform and rule of law projects.