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UPDATED: St. Louis city and county circuit courts to receive award

The Missouri Supreme Court will honor the St. Louis and St. Louis County circuit courts with the Permanency Award at ceremonies next week.

This is the second time the 21st and 22nd Judicial Circuits have won the award, which is given to circuits for successfully holding timely hearings during fiscal 2009 in child abuse and neglect cases. The goal is for children to either be reunited with their families or placed in another permanent home as soon as possible.

In St. Louis County, Missouri Supreme Court Judge Mary Rhodes Russell will present the award to Presiding Judge John Ross and Circuit Judge Mike Burton during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Family Court Center in Clayton.

At 2:30 that day in St. Louis, Judge Russell will present the award to Presiding Judge David Dowd during a ceremony at the en banc courtroom of the Civil Courts Building.

Also during the ceremonies, Supreme Court Judge Zel Fischer will present the ASTAR award.  In St. Louis, the award goes to Circuit Judge Margaret Neill and Probate Commissioner Patrick Connaghan.(Patrick Connaghan is the brother of Will Connaghan, an associate editor for Missouri Lawyers Media.) In St. Louis County, the recipients are Associate Circuit Judge Thea Sherry and Family Court Commissioner Kris Kerr.

The ASTAR (Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource) award is given to judges who have taken multiple court-related science and technology classes and obtained the acquired skills of an ASTAR fellow.

ASTAR judges are trained in scientific and technological topics, including neuroscience evidence, advanced genetic technologies, computer forensics, cybercrime, DNA science and advanced forensic technologies.