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Second panel named for Western District vacancy

The Appellate Judicial Commission has nominated Judge Jacqueline A. Cook, state official Karen King Mitchell and Judge Gary D. Witt for a vacancy on the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District.

Gov. Jay Nixon will have 60 days to select one of the three for the vacancy, created by the retirement in January of Judge Paul M. Spinden.

Cook, 50, of Belton, is the presiding judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit, comprising Cass and Johnson counties. She earned her law degree in 1989 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

Mitchell, 50, of Columbia, was appointed by Nixon to head the Missouri Department of Revenue earlier this year. Her law degree is from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1984.

Witt, 44, of Parkville, is an associate circuit judge in Platte County. He earned his law degree in 1990 from MU.

Just last week, Nixon named Columbia attorney Mark Pfeiffer to fill a different vacancy on the Western District, and a third remains to be filled later this year.

Because all three appellate vacancies came at the same time, the Appellate Judicial Commission chose to nominate all the panels from the same pool of applicants.

Cook was also on the panel from which Pfeiffer was selected. The third was Lee’s Summit attorney Cindy Reams Martin.