Legislators, judicial personnel among honorees at statewide Judicial Conference

6 October 2003

Legislators, judicial personnel among honorees at statewide Judicial Conference

Contact: Beth Riggert, Communications Counsel
Supreme Court of Missouri
Desk: 573-751-3676
Cell: 573-619-2849

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- At an annual ceremony honoring service to Missouri and the state's judiciary, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronnie L. White recognized the efforts of various legislators, judges, court staff and others. The ceremony was held Friday morning, October 3, 2003, as part of the annual meeting of the Missouri Judicial Conference, the organization of all state judges, which was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of The Missouri Bar at the Holiday Inn Select Executive Center in Columbia, Mo.

The Judicial Conference honored 16 individuals with Special Recognition Awards for outstanding legislative service to the people of Missouri. Judge Steve Ehlmann, a former state senator from St. Charles, presented awards on White's behalf to Senators Harold Caskey, D-Butler; Matt Bartle, R-Lee's Summit; Chuck Gross, R-St. Charles; and David Klindt, R-Bethany. Caskey, an attorney, was recognized for ensuring bipartisan support of various court administration bills. Bartle, also an attorney, was honored for chairing the newly combined Judiciary, Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in his freshman year and for his "dogged determination" in ensuring passage of important legislation, including a series of court administration consent bills that had languished in past sessions. Gross was recognized for fostering a cooperative effort between the Judiciary and the Senate Appropriations Committee, for which he is vice-chair, and ensuring the Judiciary would have the opportunity to manage the difficult cuts it faced. Judge Ehlmann noted that Sen. Gross took his seat when Ehlmann left the state house of representatives and again when he left his seat in the state senate. Klindt, a former computer software consultant, was honored for being instrumental in his work on all legislative issues involving court automation, including passage of the court automation sunset extension. Also receiving awards but unable to attend were Sen. Wayne Goode, D-Normandy, Sen. Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau, and Sen. John Russell, R-Lebanon.

Chief Justice White then recognized his former colleague in the state house of representatives, the late Sen. Ronnie DePasco, D-Kansas City, for his lifetime service to causes important to the Judiciary, including issues involving law enforcement and public safety. Before introducing the representatives who received awards, Judge Gary Witt of Platte County, a former state representative from Platte City, called DePasco "a giant among men." Witt noted that DePasco refused to resign from the senate due to illness, instead preferring to continue representing his constituents until his death during the last legislative session. Witt also served with DePasco in the house of representatives.
Witt presented awards on White's behalf to Rep. Rachel Bringer, D-Palmyra; Rep. Richard G. Byrd, R-Kirkwood; Rep. Catherine L. Hanaway, R-Warson Woods; Rep. Rick Johnson, D-High Ridge; and Rep. Brian Stevenson, R-Joplin. Bringer, an attorney, was honored for her work on the Joint Committee on Court Automation Oversight and her role as a conferee on HB 12, which includes the Judicial budget. Byrd, also an attorney, was honored for his hard work and diligence assisting the Judiciary in passing much critical legislation as chair of the Judiciary and Civil Law Committee as well as of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. Hanaway, an attorney and speaker of the house, was recognized for partnering with the Judiciary in its reform efforts through the Commission on Children's Justice and for ensuring that legislative issues involving the Judiciary received proper time before the house. Johnson, also an attorney, was honored for supporting key legislative measures, including expansion of nonpartisan circuit clerks into Clay and Platte counties and adoption of the omnibus court procedures bill. Stevenson, an attorney, was recognized for his leadership on important judicial issues and for his work as the only freshman legislator member of the Commission on Children's Justice. Also receiving awards but unable to attend were Rep. Carl Bearden, R-St. Charles; Rep. Connie Johnson, D-St. Louis City; and Rep. Brad Roark, R-Springfield.

Chief Justice White recognized three individuals for their exemplary service to the judiciary and outstanding contributions to the administration of justice through Chief Justice Awards. He first recognized Glenda Gill, a recently retired St. Louis County Circuit Court deputy clerk, for her diligence through the years in assisting attorneys. He noted that she was of great help to him when he started practicing in that court. Chief Justice White recognized University of Missouri-Columbia Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton for his willingness to assist any time the Bar or the Judiciary seeks his help. He noted that Middleton chaired the planning committee for this year's Bar meeting. Chief Justice White then recognized his former colleague on the Court of Appeals, Eastern District, senior Judge James Pudlowski, for his longtime service on the state salary commission and for his willingness to mentor new judges.

Approximately 150 judges from throughout the state attended the awards breakfast.