JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Paul C. Wilson, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri and chair of the Appellate Judicial Commission, announces the commission has submitted to Governor Michael L. Parson its panel of nominees to fill the vacancy on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District. This vacancy exists due to the July 2022 retirement of Judge William W. Francis Jr.
The commission unanimously supports the three nominees. As previously explained, the commission did not re-interview individuals who applied for the Lynch vacancy, all of whom were interviewed last month. Pursuant to Rule 10.28(d), the commission interviewed the one new applicant. After the public interviews, approximately 2 hours of deliberations, and 10 rounds of balloting, the nominees are Ginger K. Gooch, Matthew P. Hamner, and Joseph L. Hensley.
Gooch is a partner with Husch Blackwell LLP in Springfield. She was born in 1975 and resides in Springfield. She earned her bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, in English and philosophy, law and rhetoric in 1997 from Stephens College in Columbia and her law degree, cum laude, in 2000 from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. She received seven votes.
Hamner is the presiding judge of the 26th Judicial Circuit (Camden, Laclede, Miller, Moniteau and Morgan counties). He was born in 1976 and resides in Osage Beach. He earned his bachelor of arts, cum laude, in communication in 1998 and his law degree in 2001, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He received seven votes.
Hensley is an associate circuit judge and the presiding juvenile judge in Jasper County (in the 29th Judicial Circuit). He was born in 1973 and resides in Joplin. He earned his bachelor of arts, summa cum laude and with honors, in 1995 in psychology and his law degree in 1998, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He received seven votes.
The governor has 60 days to select one member of the panel to fill the vacancy. Should he fail to do so, the Missouri Constitution directs the commission to make the appointment.
In addition to Wilson, the commission is composed of Neil Chanter of Springfield, Timothy M. Drury of St. Louis, Sally Hargis of Springfield, Thomas K. Neill of St. Louis, Kirk R. Presley of Kansas City and Kathy Ritter of Columbia.