Supreme Court recognizes five judicial circuits for expeditiously processing cases

6 October 2003


Supreme Court recognizes five judicial circuits for expeditiously processing cases


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


COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronnie L. White on Friday morning, October 3, 2003, recognized five judicial circuits for efficiently managing and processing cases during fiscal 2002. The Daniel J. O'Toole awards were presented during a ceremonial breakfast of the Missouri Judicial Conference, the organization of all state judges.

Receiving awards on behalf of their circuits were Presiding Judge Andrew Krohn of the 3rd Judicial Circuit (Grundy, Harrison, Mercer and Putnam counties), Presiding Judge Patrick Robb of the 5th Judicial Circuit (Andrew and Buchanan counties), Presiding Judge Robert Clayton II of the 10th Judicial Circuit (Marion, Monroe and Ralls counties), Presiding Judge Ralph Jaynes of the 14th Judicial Circuit (Howard and Randolph counties) and Presiding Judge Thomas J. Brown of the 19th Judicial Circuit (Cole County).

The O'Toole Award, named for that judge's service as the first chair of the Time Standards Monitoring Committee, recognizes the success of 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 3rd Circuit met six of the standards, was within 1 percent of meeting another standard and was within at least 5 percent of meeting the remaining standards. The 5th Circuit met six of the standards, was within 1 percent of meeting another standard and was within 2 percent of meeting the remaining standards. The 10th Circuit met five of the standards, was within 1 percent of meeting another standard and was within at least 3 percent of meeting the remaining standards. The 14th Circuit met seven of the standards, was within 1 percent of meeting another standard and was within at least 5 percent of meeting the remaining standards. The 19th Circuit met five of the standards, was within 1 percent of meeting another standard and was within at least 4 percent of meeting the remaining standards.

"Handling cases promptly and efficiently is critical not only to an effective judicial system but also to justice itself," Chief Justice White said. "The O'Toole Award recognizes the courts' commitment to that goal. We all should recognize the improvements being made statewide in managing judicial case loads effectively."

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.


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