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Three candidates are vying for a position on the November ballot to elect the next judge of the 26th Judicial Circuit.

The winner of the Republican Primary on Aug. 4 will run unopposed in November to fill the seat being vacated due to the retirement of Judge Peggy Richardson. The 26th Judicial Circuit includes Moniteau, Miller, Morgan, Camden and Laclede counties.

The Democrat gave all three candidates the opportunity to respond to a series of questions about their experience, why they chose to run and their goals while in office.

Jeff Green

My leadership experience consists of the following diverse positions I have been involved with: Missouri Bar Committee Member — Solo and Small Firm Committee; Probate and Trust Committee; Elder Law Committee; General Legal Council — Miller County Board for Services for the Developmentally Disabled (SB-40), Morgan County Board for Services for the Developmentally Disabled (SB-40), Lake of the Ozarks Stop Human Trafficking Coalition; Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Arlington United Methodist Church; Board of Trustees, Wesley United Methodist Church; Board of Directors — President of Board of Directors, Grace Living Center, Ivy Bend Food Pantry, Lake of the Ozarks Stop Human Trafficking Coalition; and 10 years Management Experience McDonnell Douglas Corporation.

I am a candidate for Judge of the 26th Judicial Circuit Court, Division 3, as I believe having a judge that has vast experience to effectively rule in all legal matters that are presented to them is critical in assuring justice is received by all persons that are impacted by the decisions a judge makes. I want to use my experience to assure that integrity continues to exist for our 26th Circuit Court.

Setting me apart from my fellow candidates are my skills and experience, not only as a criminal defense attorney and 17 years as a part-time criminal prosecuting attorney, but I have vastly more experience in all civil matters than the other candidates. Those matters include real estate boundary disputes, easements and rights-of-way, eminent domain, farming, farm operations and associated real estate, and issues regarding ownership of real estate. I have handled personal injury, medical malpractice and nursing home abuse and neglect. Further, I have experience in many Department of Natural Resources actions, discrimination, insurance claims, major contract disputes, manufacturing and construction disputes, condominium and timeshare development and disputes, and numerous homeowner and neighborhood association disputes. I also have extensive experience in adoptions and have represented parents and children in juvenile cases for most of my career. These skills and experience separate me from my opponents.

The primary issues I hold as important related to this position are maintaining the integrity and respect for the court and its decisions, which I believe are vital to our community. In today's environment, people need to know they can and will receive a fair and impartial hearing, and the decision made by our court will be based on knowledgeable, experienced and fair considerations. In addition, continuing to improve the time it takes for cases to move through our court system needs to continue to improve.

I am a graduate of Tipton High School and have been a lifetime member of the United Methodist Church. Voters should know they will be treated with the utmost respect, and all decisions I make would be based upon my 24 years of legal experience, combined with my 14 years professional experience outside the legal realm. I bring a unique set of experience and knowledge to the position, having worked in small business and a Fortune 50 corporation. Being able to use my knowledge and education, combined with all of these experiences, gives me the wisdom for this position and makes me the most qualified candidate. I would be honored to be your next Judge of the 26th Circuit Court and would appreciate your vote on Aug. 4.

Richelle Grosvenor

I am Richelle Christensen Grosvenor, and I am running for Circuit Judge in the 26th circuit. Circuit judges handle most of the felony criminal cases, along with a civil docket.

I have 20 years of legal practice. I have experience as an elected prosecutor, a defense attorney and a civil litigator. I have served as a chief deputy assistant prosecutor, municipal judge, associate circuit judge and defense attorney — all in the 26th circuit.

Prior to launching my legal career, I worked in law enforcement, in police and sheriff's departments. I worked as a dispatcher, jailer and in records. As an undergraduate, I studied criminal justice and sociology.

I have extensive courtroom and jury trial experience. I have done jury trials in murder, assault, robbery, burglary, stealing, drug manufacturing and distribution cases, as well as DWI and animal abuse cases. I have tried cases as both a prosecuting attorney and a defense attorney. As a prosecutor, I have put violent criminals behind bars where they belong, including high-profile murderers. I am the only candidate with this level of jury trial experience. I have also had trials as a civil litigator.

I have extensive experience working with victims, defendants and family members. I have, in the course of my practice, represented parents and children in legal matters.

I currently practice in all five counties in the circuit, have two office locations and I am a small business owner.

Why should you vote for me? A vote for me is not just about my experience, it is also a vote for integrity. Voters may be surprised to learn that judges can accept money and donations from attorneys who appear in front of them and also from PAC's (Political Action Committees). I am the only candidate in this race who is not accepting campaign donations. I believe a judge should be free from the perception of outside influence. I do not want to owe anyone anything. When I am in court, I don't want to wonder if the person on the other side has given money to the judge's campaign. Likewise, when I am the judge, I don't want anyone appearing in front of me to wonder the same thing.

My husband, Rob, and I live and work in the circuit. We share three children, two of whom also live and work here. The third is deployed with the Air Force in Jordan. I am active in my church and am involved with the Pregnancy Help Center and Operation Christmas Child.

Because my family and I live and work here, I want to put my experience as an attorney and judge to use on the circuit bench and to make our communities better. This is not merely a stepping stone to a different job, it is a choice for community. I will be fair. I will be impartial. I will treat each case as unique, but also prioritize consistency.

I will run with integrity and I will serve with integrity.

Aaron Koeppen

I care about our community and doing my part to help make it a better place to live. As an Associate Circuit Judge, I took an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution. Fulfilling that oath is one way I believe I can do my part to improve our communities. My experience over the last decade serving as a judge in our Circuit has prepared me to step into the role of Circuit Judge.

I have been serving as an Associate Circuit Judge in the 26th Circuit for nearly a decade. In that time, I have presided over nearly 30,000 cases of nearly all types. Thousands of these cases are circuit level cases. I led the effort to create specialized treatment courts for our Circuit. I currently preside over the Veterans Treatment Court for our Circuit and also the Drug and DWI Treatment Courts for Camden County.

Upholding and defending the Constitution is and will always be the most important issue for me as a judge. Especially at the circuit trial level, judges need to understand and uphold the principles outlined in the US Constitution. The preservation of this great document is the greatest defense we have to the infringement of our rights. Judges sit in a very unique position, in that they are charged by oath to defend and uphold the Constitution. As your Circuit Judge, I will continue to uphold my oath of office and act fairly and impartially in every case.

My faith and family values define me as a person and as a judge. My wife, Nancy, and I have been married for 20 years and we have five amazing children. They are my motivation for doing what I do.

 

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