Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd hosted a reception on Friday, Dec. 4, at the Marion County Courthouse in Hannibal, in honor of the Tenth Circuit receiving the Daniel O’Toole Award for Fiscal Year 2014.

Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd hosted a reception on Friday, Dec. 4, at the Marion County Courthouse in Hannibal, in honor of the Tenth Circuit receiving the Daniel O’Toole Award for Fiscal Year 2014.

The Tenth Circuit is only one of four circuits throughout the state to meet all ten of the ten time standards measured by the Missouri Supreme Court for timely and efficient case management in fiscal year 2014. The Tenth Circuit also received the O'Toole Award for Fiscal Year 2011,

Fiscal Year 2012, and Fiscal Year 2013, and was one of only two circuits in the state to meet all ten time standards for achievement for the past four consecutive years. Judge Shepherd provided pizza and cake to attendees from Marion, Monroe and Ralls counties; and following the reception,

22 attorneys participated in a free continuing legal education seminar, presented by Melinda Bentley, Legal Ethics Counsel from Jefferson City.

The O’Toole Award is given to circuits for efficiently managing and processing cases. Missouri’s case-processing time standards, which became effective in 1997, serve as guidelines for the time various kinds of cases should take to handle. For example, half of civil cases should be disposed within twelve months, and ninety percent of civil cases should be disposed within eighteen months. The guidelines recognize that some cases are more complex and require more time; and they are designed as tools to achieve the overall goals of efficiency, productivity and quality of justice.

The O’Toole Award, named for the late judge’s service as the first chair of the time standards monitoring committee, recognizes the success of the circuits in handling cases in a timely manner. “This award is the result of cooperation and diligence by all members of the Tenth Circuit Bar Association, court personnel and agencies that partner with the court, Judge Shepherd said. “I am very grateful for the continued teamwork that has allowed the Tenth Circuit to receive this honor."