The Appellate Judicial Commission has nominated a circuit judge, an attorney with a large Missouri law firm and a former Missouri Bar president to fill a vacancy on the Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District.
The commission on Aug. 23 said Becky J.W. Borthwick, Ginger K. Gooch and Raymond E. Williams were chosen unanimously after approximately seven hours of public interviews with 17 applicants, two and a half hours of deliberations and eight rounds of balloting.
Gov. Mike Parson has 60 days to select one of the three to fill the vacancy left by the June retirement of Judge Gary W. Lynch.
Borthwick is a circuit judge for the Greene County Circuit Court. Previously a municipal judge with the city of Springfield, she was named as an associate circuit judge in 2016 by Gov. Jay Nixon and elevated to the circuit bench in 2019 by Parson. She earned her law degree in 1995 from the Oklahoma College of Law in Norman.
Gooch is a partner with Husch Blackwell’s office in Springfield whose practice includes representation of public and private educational institutions and health care facilities. She also has served on the Missouri Supreme Court’s Civil Rules Committee and was president of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association in 2017. She earned her law degree in 2000 from the University of Missouri.
Williams is the owner of Williams Law Offices, a general civil and criminal practice in West Plains and Eminence. He served as the 2018-2019 president of The Missouri Bar and had been a member of its board of governors since 2008. He earned his law degree in 1995 from the University of Missouri.
Lynch’s vacancy is one of two to be filled on the Southern District. Judge William W. Francis Jr. left the bench at the end of July. The judicial commission expect to reopen the selection process after the governor fills the first vacancy.