Judge Jalilah Otto has begun her two-year term as presiding judge of the Jackson County Circuit Court.
Otto, who succeeded Judge J. Dale Youngs in the role on Jan. 1, is the first Black judge and only the fourth woman to be elected by her judicial colleagues to the circuit’s chief administrative position.
“We are proud to welcome and support our colleague and friend as she begins her historic term as our Presiding Judge,” Youngs said in a statement.
In the same statement, Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. said he looked forward to “continuing our collaborative effort with the Courts to build a better and more equitable Jackson County.”
“Representation matters, and today, young black girls across our community will see that they too can break the glass ceiling in whatever they strive to do,” he said.
Otto was appointed as an associate circuit judge by Gov. Jay Nixon in 2014 and elevated to the circuit bench by Gov. Eric Greitens in 2017. Prior to that, she was the chief trial assistant for the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and also served as a special assistant U.S. attorney.
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