Court News & Notes

New Divisional Manager in Jefferson City

Laura Bax

Laura Bax, Jefferson City divisional manager

Laura Bax was promoted to the position of divisional manager in Jefferson City on April 25, 2011.  Laura began working for the court as a deputy clerk in May 1995.  Laura earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and political science (1995) and a Master of Public Administration degree (2002), both from the University of Missouri, Columbia.  Laura completed the 2.5-year Federal Court Leadership Program in 2008.  More recently she completed the Vanguard Leadership Program through the public school system in Jefferson City.  Laura is very involved in the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) as a member of the citywide PTO and also at each of her sons' schools.  Laura has been married to her husband, Jason, for 17 years.  The couple has two sons, Casey (13) and Cole (11).  She is originally from the Poplar Bluff area, where she frequently visits her parents.  Her outside interests include photography and scrapbooking.  She also has a cabin on the Osage River and enjoys floating on the river with her family.  Congratulations to Laura on her promotion! 

Attorney Admissions Clerk Change

Jeri Russel

With the recent promotion of Laura Bax to divisional manager, Jeri Russel has assumed additional duties as the attorney admission’s clerk for the Western District of Missouri.  Jeri began working for the court in June 1988, splitting her time between being a pro se secretary to Magistrate William Knox and a deputy clerk in the Clerk’s Office.  A few years later, she moved full time to the Central Division Clerk’s Office.  Jeri has one son, Kody (19), and she is eagerly awaiting an “empty nest.”  She is originally from St. Martins, Mo., and has lived in the Jefferson City area her entire life.  Feel free to contact Jeri if you have any WDMO bar issues at or at (573) 556-7563.  Congratulations to Jeri on her new duties!

Jeri Russel, attorney admissions clerk

 Announcing Judges’ Pages

One of the new features offered by the court’s updated website is the addition of judges’ pages.  Judges biographies and requirements are provided for all District, Magistrate and Bankruptcy Court judges.  Additional details include:

  • Contact information for judges’ staff
  • Opinions
  • Scheduling & trial orders
  • Jury instructions
  • Audio-visual equipment

These changes are made consistent with attorney feedback solicited by the court to make improvements to navigation and content on our website.  The updated site also includes improved search capability and one-click navigation to frequently accessed items.  Visit the new judges’ pages at

Forty-one individuals from 22 different countries were naturalized.
Forty-one individuals from 22 different
countries were naturalized
Presentation of the U.S. Flag by Boy Scout Troop No. 11.
Presentation of the U.S. Flag by Boy Scout Troop No. 11
Jefferson City Hosts Naturalization Ceremony

Forty-one individuals from 22 different countries finalized the requirements for American citizenship as they were administered the Oath of Allegiance in Jefferson City on May 6, 2011.  Magistrate William Knox presided over the patriotic ceremony, which included the presentation of the flag by Boy Scout Troop No. 11 from Jefferson City.  The scouts also led the new citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance. This was followed by “The Star-Spangled Banner” and a special rendition of “God Bless America,” which was performed by the Show-Me Showboaters Chorus.  Carrie James, from the Jefferson City divisional office, administered the oath.  The Eldon, Mo., Howard County and Columbian Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution assisted with the program and reception, and provided small American flags and other patriotic items to each individual.  A reception for the new citizens and their families was sponsored by the Boone County Bar Association following the ceremony.






38th Annual Bench-Bar
38th Annual Bench-Bar Review

“Real Lawyers.  Real Stories.  Amazing Results.”

The Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA) hosted the 38th Annual Bench-Bar & Boardroom Conference (BBBC), May 19 - 21, 2011, at The Lodge of Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks.  

The 2011 BBBC included a plenary session covering “Resolving Injustice: Real Stories of Legal Heroism.”  Moderator Judy Heeter (vice chair, Board of Directors, MIP) spoke of stories of crime and punishment that fill our TVs, theaters and bookshelves. The presentation featured stories of wrongful conviction, focusing on what happened, why it happened and who it happened to. Conference attendees were allowed a rare look into real stories of crime and punishment ripped from the headlines. Exonerees, their counsel and members of the Midwestern Innocence Project (MIP) staff spoke about their arrests, trials, convictions, incarceration and exoneration, and shared their fascinating and moving stories of lawyers heroically fighting to protect the rights of the innocent and wrongfully convicted.

Judy Heeter

Judy Heeter, vice chair, Board of Directors, MIP

A video, featuring KCMBA officers, highlighted the good work and amazing results of its members, while providing a humorous take on newsroom drama. 

There were also separate conference tracks for litigators, young lawyers, corporate and business practitioners, and family law practitioners.







Take Your Child to Work Day

Take Your Child to Work Day

Judge Whipple presided over the Gold E. Locks trial during this year's Take Your Child to Work Day.  Court employees like “Papa Bear” Bill Terry demonstrated their acting skills.

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