The latest nominees for the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District are no strangers to the process. All three were previous panel members to fill recent vacancies on the same court.
The Appellate Judicial Commission on Monday nominated Circuit Judge Jacqueline A. Cook, private attorney Cynthia L. Reams Martin and Associate Circuit Judge Gary D. Witt for a spot created by Joseph Dandurand’s retirement.
Cook, 51, of Belton, is the presiding judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Cass and Johnson Counties. She obtained her law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1989. She was first elected circuit judge in 2001 and became the presiding judge of the circuit last year. Cook clerked for the Western District after graduating from law school.
Martin is a solo practitioner in Lee’s Summit, primarily practicing in business and commercial litigation, as well as transactions and projects. Martin, 50, received her law degree from UMKC in 1984 and was a valedictorian.
Witt is an associate circuit judge in the 6th Judicial Circuit in Platte County. Witt, 44, of Parkville, was first appointed to the 6th Circuit in 1999. Before his appointment, he served as a Democratic state representative from 1991 to 1997 for a district that included parts of Platte and Buchanan counties. He is a 1990 University of Missouri School of Law graduate.
Cook was also a member of two previous panels this year, which were due to the retirements of Judges Ron Holliger and Paul Spinden. Martin and Witt were nominees for the vacancies of Holliger and Spiden, respectively.
Gov. Jay Nixon had picked Columbia attorney Mark Pfeiffer and Missouri Department of Revenue Director Karen King Mitchell to fill the prior vacancies on the court.
The Western District has another pending vacancy due to Judge Hal Lowenstein’s retirement on Monday. However, the commission also must replace Judge Booker Shaw on the Eastern District and Judge John Parrish on the Southern.
Applicants are currently being sought for the Eastern District. The application deadline is 5 p.m. Aug. 28.
Nixon has 60 days to make his selection from the panel.