Judge Robert M. Clayton III of Hannibal has been elected chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, by a unanimous vote of the judges of the court. His one-year term began July 1.
The chief judge is the chief administrative officer of the court and represents the court to the public, according to an announcement posted on Eastern District website.
"It is an honor to serve as a member of this Court, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be chief," Clayton said in a press release. "This Court hears thousands of cases each year and, in most instances, will provide final resolution of disputes affecting citizens throughout the Eastern District. That is why I hope to give citizens throughout the district an opportunity to learn more about their appellate court through either educational opportunities or by seeing our judges in action on the bench.
"In the past, we have held oral arguments in communities from Canton to Jackson, and I plan to continue this wonderful tradition, reaching out to additional communities. I also hope to have the opportunity over the next year to speak to groups in each county served by the district."
Clayton was appointed to the Eastern District in July 2011 by Gov. Jay Nixon. He earned his bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University and his law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Prior to his appointment, Clayton served on the public service commission from 2003-11 and as its chair from 2009-11. He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, serving from 1994-2002.
Clayton also was in the private practice of law in Hannibal from 1994-2003. He is active in Hannibal as president of Affordable Community Education, the local organization promoting community college access in Northeast Missouri. He serves on the board of directors of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home Foundation and is a trustee of the State Historical Society of Missouri State. He is treasurer of Trinity Episcopal Church and a member of the Hannibal YMCA Men's Club.
The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, hears appeals from the trial courts in 25 counties in eastern Missouri and St. Louis city. It is the largest court in the state appellate system, with 14 judges and a workload of approximately 1,600 cases per year. It is located in the historic old post office in downtown St. Louis but regularly holds sessions at various locations throughout the district.