JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – The Missouri Court of Appeals has black chief judges in two of its districts for the first time. Judge Nannette A. Baker will serve a 1-year term in the Eastern District and Judge Thomas N. Newton will serve a 2-year term in the Western District. Both were elected by their peers.
Baker is the first black woman to serve as chief judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals and the third black judge to serve as chief judge of the Eastern District. The Eastern District handles about half of the state’s intermediate appellate case load and covers 25 counties plus St. Louis City.
“I am humbled by the honor of being the first African-American woman to preside over a state court in Missouri,” Baker said in a statement. “I look forward to the challenge of leading the court.”
Newton became the first black judge to assume the post of chief judge in the Western District. The Western District covers 45 counties and handles about 40 percent of the state’s intermediate appellate caseload.
“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such fine judges on the Court of Appeals,” Newton said. “I look forward to working with all the employees at the Western District and throughout the state during the next two years in improving the service we render to the citizens of Missouri.”