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This Week in the Missouri Supreme Court: Jan. 3, 2017

In Missouri Supreme Court proceedings, there was one opinion reached on a disciplinary hearing of Lincoln County Judge Christina Kunza Mennemeyer.

The public defender’s office filed a complaint against Mennemeyer in Nov. 2014 claiming the judge deliberately postponed appointing counsel to indigent defendants in probation violation cases until after the time for disqualifying the judge had passed. The complaint also stated Mennemeyer threatened to discipline against any public defender who appeared before the court before being officially appointed to the case. This action effectively restricted multiple defendants’ right to counsel.

All six Missouri Supreme Court justices found merit in the complaint and Mennemeyer will be suspended for six months without pay for her actions starting Feb. 1. In his concurring opinion Judge Paul C. Wilson wrote:

Mennemeyer repeatedly let her view of the public defender’s authority outweigh her judicial obligation to maintain objectivity and impartiality in adjudicating cases before her, and she repeatedly refused to make findings as to defendants’ due process rights expressly for the purpose of depriving those defendants of their rights to counsel and to a change of judge.