30 September 2004
Supreme Court recognizes three judicial circuits for expeditiously processing cases
Contact: Beth Riggert, Communications Counsel
Supreme Court of Missouri
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Supreme Court of Missouri Chief Justice Ronnie L. White this morning recognized three judicial circuits for efficiently managing and processing cases during fiscal 2003. The Daniel J. O'Toole awards were presented during a ceremonial breakfast of the Missouri Judicial Conference, the organization of all state judges, at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Mo.
Receiving awards on behalf of their circuits were Presiding Judge Robert Clayton of the 10th Judicial Circuit (Marion, Monroe, and Ralls counties) and Presiding Judge William Syler of the 32nd Judicial Circuit (Bollinger, Cape Girardeau and Perry counties). Also receiving an award on behalf of his circuit but unable to attend was Presiding Judge Ralph Jaynes of the 14th Judicial Circuit (Howard and Randolph counties).
"We should all recognize these improvements across the state in effectively managing judicial caseloads," Chief Justice White said. "Justice cannot adequately prevail without prompt and efficient management of caseloads."
The O'Toole Award, named for that judge's service as the first chair of the time standards monitoring committee, recognizes the success of the circuits in handling cases in a timely manner. To qualify, a circuit must achieve at least five of the 10 case processing time standards and must not be more than 5 percent from achieving the remaining standards. The 10th Circuit met five of the standards, was within 1 percent of meeting another standard and was within at least 5 percent of meeting the remaining standards. The 14th Circuit met seven of the standards, was within 1 percent of another standard and was within at least 5 percent of meeting the remaining standards. The 32nd Circuit met seven of the standards and was within at least five percent of meeting the remaining standards.
The case processing time standards, which became effective in 1997, serve as guidelines for the time various kinds of cases should take to handle. For example, half of civil cases should be disposed within 12 months, and 90 percent of civil cases should be disposed within 18 months. The guidelines recognize that some cases are more complex and require more time. They are designed as tools, therefore, to achieve the overall goals of efficiency, productivity and quality of justice rather than as absolute requirements.