Retired Judge Gary Oxenhandler joins in memorandum supporting absentee voting

Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri Michael Wolff has penned a memorandum of law regarding absentee voting based on the “confinement due to illness” clause in Mo. Rev. Stat. § 115.277. Former Boone County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler has joined several other attorneys and retired judges from around the state in signing this memo and asked that it be shared with the Bar. A copy is the memo is available here.



13th Circuit to host three CLEs on May 8

The Associate Circuit Judges and Commissioners of the 13th Circuit are hosting 3 CLEs on Friday, May 8. These CLEs will be on Zoom and will focus on how to appear for court over Zoom. One will be with judges from Boone County, one will be with judges from Callaway County, both focusing on criminal and civil dockets; and a third will focus on Family Law in both Boone and Callaway counties. The court is applying for CLE credit. Below is a schedule of these three programs:

Friday, May 8
Boone Judges – 10-10:50 a.m. (1 CLE)
Callaway Judges – 11-11:50 a.m. (1 CLE)
Family Law Judges and Commissioner – 12-12:30 p.m. (.6 CLE)

Attorneys are welcome to RSVP for any or all of the programs. There is no cost to register or attend.
Each CLE will be limited to 20 participants. If more attorneys want to sign up, then additional time slots will be made likely later in the day on the 8th.

Examples of issues to be discussed:

  • How will I know my case will be heard on Zoom versus in person?
  • Breakout rooms (to discuss something privately with your client if they’re in custody)
  • How to handle witnesses and submit evidence.
  • Best practices for using Zoom, including
    • Using headphones and a microphone to avoid echo.
    • Wearing appropriate attire.
    • Muting your line when your case is being addressed.
    • What to do if you need to leave for a minute.
    • How and when to use the “chat” option.
    • Expectations for your clients.

To RSVP, please email, indicating which Zoom CLE(s) you would like to attend, and any additional questions you want answered. The Zoom invite to the CLE will be sent out to those who RSVP on Thursday, May 7.

Prof. Trachtenberg to present CLE on Legal Ethics and the Coronavirus on May 13

In lieu of the regular May meeting, the BCBA will be offering an Ethics CLE via videoconference on Wednesday, May 13 from noon – 1 p.m. The BCBA will sponsor this virtual CLE, and the presentation will be free to all BCBA members.  The session will be presented by MU School of Law professor Ben Trachtenberg.

Prof. Trachtenberg’s talk will cover ethical issues raised by the Coronavirus pandemic, including duties that lawyers have if they become ill, the duties of “diligence” and “competence” during an emergency, client communications during social distancing, and the perils and promise of remote work.

Professor Trachtenberg joined the University of Missouri School of Law faculty in 2010. He is a graduate of Yale University and received his J.D. from Columbia Law School. Prior to joining the MU Law faculty, Prof. Trachtenberg clerked at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was a litigator at Covington & Burling LLP assigned to white collar investigations and civil securities cases. While in practice, Professor Trachtenberg also handled pro bono representations in housing and employment law matters. He currently teaches Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, and Trial Practice.

Approval of 1.2 hours of Ethics CLE credit has been requested from the Missouri Bar.  The virtual CLE will be hosted on the Zoom platform. To ensure capacity, please RSVP by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12 by emailing BCBA Vice President Gretchen Yancey at

The CLE will be in group call/screen sharing format, so if you call in to participate, please make sure to use the mute feature to minimize background noise during the presentation.  Questions for Prof. Trachtenberg during the presentation can be asked through the chat function.

Updated Procedures for Zoom Video Conferences Involving In-Custody Defendants

Below is an email from 13th Judicial Circuit Administrator, Mary Epping:

After some brainstorming and the jails being open to creative solutions, both the Boone and Callaway jails are now able to use Zoom. We appreciate our partners being willing to try new things and we are doing our best to minimize issues but recognize that there will be unavoidable troubleshooting.  We need to keep in mind the jails’ need to have CDC compliance.  I want to recognize everyone’s contributions but specifically want to thank the court’s IT supervisor Chris Fishman-Weaver for making all this technology work on the fly and Cindy Garrett for her tireless efforts to coordinate calls and video conferences, and help in creating processes.


Monday’s schedule, April 6 for Boone’s Law Day

9 a.m. – Judge K Crane’s docket on Jail 1 (using zoom)

1:30 – Judge Crane on Jail 1 (using zoom) hearing arraignments

1:30 – Judge Jacobs on Jail 2

1:30 – Judge Asel will be zoom meeting starting immediately after Judge Crane’s arraignments. That means the jail will only have to connect once to the meeting. Attorneys for Judge Asel’s docket have all be invited over Zoom.

Attorneys scheduled on the dockets using Zoom will be sent an email to join. We anticipate going forward having these staggered dockets as needed and, as they grow, possibly scheduling different time slots to join (for example 1:30, 2:30 etc).

Cases set for the rest of the week in Boone will default to Zoom/jail 1. It should be noted we are working on a call in option with zoom. If attorneys come to the courthouse, it may be that the judge is not in the courtroom.

We continue to have 1East available for attorneys to schedule to meet with clients.

Updates on Options for In-Custody Appearances

From Mary Epping, Court Administrator:

Boone County In Custody Appearances

Thank you, everyone, for your patience as we’ve been working through the best options for keeping everyone safe and healthy.

At this time, we are not able to utilize “Zoom” within the Boone County jail for the criminal dockets. We do, however, have another video-conferencing program we are able to use with the jail. Attorneys wanting to appear by video would connect via a link emailed out and could then appear from any location as long as they have a camera on their device. However, this process has to be scheduled 2-3 days in advance and cannot change (no attorney could be added on) after the link is created.

Our plan, at this time, is to allow attorneys to appear in person, by phone, or video, based on their preference, and the defendants will continue to appear on video.

To appear by video:

Contact the court 3 business days prior to the hearing at 886-4069. Leave a message with your name, the case number and hearing date, and the email address we should send the invite to. Please include your phone number too, in case we need to verify something. Anyone calling less than 3 business days in advance will have to appear by phone or in person.

To appear by phone:

Please contact the court by 9 a.m. the day of the hearing at 886-4069.

Leave a message with your name, the case number and hearing date, and the phone number we should call.

Again, at this point, counsel may still choose to come in person.

We are continuing to look at procedures and will be making plans for what will happen when the court will start to hear more dockets in the future.

The court has to be cognizant of issues like confidentiality, recording hearings that have to be on the record, and ease of use.

Boone County Associate Judges’ Processes

 Preliminary hearings

The Associate Circuit Judge’s will accept written waivers of preliminary hearings and written waivers of arraignment and pleas of not guilty. In these cases, the Court will order the case placed on the trial request docket.  If no written waiver of arraignment is filed, we will set arraignment on the first Monday after the stay-at-home order expires.

Pleas of Guilty

The Associate Circuit Judges will accept written pleas of guilty with agreed upon dispositions. The form must include the recommendation, including conditions of probation where applicable, and signatures of the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorney, and the defendant. The defendant’s signature need not be notarized at this time. The Judge will continue to complete the judgment form for the clerk.  We will reference the signed plea of guilty in the defendant’s signature line on the judgment form.  We will place the completed judgment form in the Criminal Clerk box in the Judge’s office. It is the responsibility of defense counsel to send defendant a copy of the judgment form (and this will be in our docket entry). The defense attorneys should access the judgment forms from and send to their clients, as the Clerk will not be sending these out.

Admissions of Probation Violations

Where the disposition is agreed upon, the Associate Circuit Judges will accept written admissions of probation violations and will follow the recommended disposition. The format of the written admissions shall be the same as with the written guilty pleas.

Again, thank you all for working with us and being patient. We also hope everyone is taking care of themselves.




Mary Epping
Court Administrator
13th Judicial Circuit
705 E. Walnut Street, Columbia, MO 65201
Phone:  (573) 886- 4058
Fax:       (573) 886-4070

Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Announces Procedures Regarding In-Custody Defendants

Callaway County Jail Procedures

As some of you may already know, the Callaway County Sheriff has been working to limit public access to the Callaway County Jail to help reduce the possibility of COVID-19 transmission and make reasonable accommodation for attorney-client contact.

Inmates still have phone contact availability with their attorneys.

In addition, the jail will be using the visitor pods to allow for attorney-client meetings.  These pods separate the attorney from the client by a glass partition.  While it will significantly reduce the possibility of virus transmission, these pods are not airtight and are not intended to be.  Although there are six (6) pods in the visitation area, only one pod will be used at a time to insure attorney-client confidentiality.  The Sheriff was able to work with the vendor to disable the recording system so that those contacts are NOT recorded.  That is true even if there are signs posted to the contrary.  Also, the Sheriff has thoroughly tested the system to make certain that the conversations are NOT being recorded.



Attorneys wishing to arrange personal meetings with clients will need to contact the jail staff to book a time for their attorney/client meeting in the visitation pod.  Please enter the main lobby at the Law Enforcement Center and be prepared to show a driver’s license and Missouri Bar card to the jail staff (especially in the evenings with staff who may not be familiar with individual defense attorneys.)

To start, the meetings times will be limited to 30-minute increments so that as many attorneys who need to start that contact can have that access.  The jail will work with attorneys to increase the length of the meeting so long as there are no bookings of the pod immediately after your 30-minute time period.  As the process goes along, and depending on demand, the Sheriff may extend the length of visits, thereby reducing the number of appointment blocks.

The available days are Monday through FridayPRIORITY WILL BE GIVEN TO PUBLIC DEFENDERS ON TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS.  Requests for Saturday and Sunday visits will be accommodated as best as possible.  If you need a weekend booking, please contact Captain Robbie Harrison at 573/592-2458 prior to the proposed weekend appointment time.  (weekend appointment blocks/times will remain the same as weekdays)

The available time periods are as follows:

9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (*ends at 11:00 a.m.) – 4 appointment blocks

1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (*ends at 4:00 p.m.) – 6 appointment blocks

6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (*ends at 10:00 p.m.) – 8 appointment blocks

*Please note – the stopping point at 11am, 4pm and 10pm are HARD DEADLINES to accommodate the passing of medications, meals and head count.


ALL defense attorneys are asked to be in the courtroom for criminal proceedings and NOT report to the jail for dockets.  Inmates will still appear by video but attorneys will no longer be at the jail in direct contact with inmates appearing in court by video.  Again, the purpose of this is to reduce the possibility of introduction of COVID-19 into the jail or, should the virus be introduced into the inmate population, transmitted from inmates to attorneys. Per the administrative order entered March 16, 2020, inmates will NOT be transported to court unless the judge orders it.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding during these difficult times.

Christopher D. Wilson
Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney
10 East 5th Street
Fulton, Missouri 65251
Telephone:  573/642-0714
Facsimile:  573/642-5725

Columbia Municipal Court Response to COVID-19

Starting Monday, March 23, 2020, the Columbia Municipal Court building will generally be closed to the public. The building will, however, be open 15 minutes prior to the start of any video arraignment with inmates and will be open until court is no longer in session.

The following court services will remain available:

  • The Judge will hold video arraignments for inmates, five days a week.
  • Payments can be processed online at, by phone 1-800-444-1187, or via mail at 600 E Broadway, Columbia MO, 65201.
  • Written guilty pleas will be accepted via email at or by fax at 573-874-7531.
  • The Judge and Clerk will be available to recall warrants and process appropriate paperwork.
  • Email or call 573.817.5022 to make inquiries.

Boone County Circuit Court Provides Updates on Pandemic Response

On March 19, 2020, Mary Epping, Court Administrator for the 13th Judicial Circuit provided the following update on the Boone County Circuit Court’s response to COVID-19:

During this pandemic we are continuing to work with our agency partners to find creative solutions to make sure we balance the health of everyone, while also making sure we are prioritizing cases that have to be processed.

Update 1:

In a continued effort to consolidate dockets and interactions, the court will temporarily consolidate its associate circuit dockets for in custody criminal cases to the following schedule:

Plan for associates through April 17 to consolidate dockets:

  • Monday: A circuit judge will hear all arraignments
  • Tuesday: Judge Morrell – arraignments and all her in-custody criminal cases at 1:30 (she will have no other criminal cases the rest of the week)
  • Wednesday: Judge Gonzalez  (same as above)
  • Thursday: Judge Shaw (same as above)
  • Friday: Judge Jacobs will hear arraignments at 1:30

Circuit judges’ schedules will not change at this time.

Update 2:

The jail and Court have agreed to provide a mechanism for attorneys to confidentially video conference with their clients who are in custody. Attorneys will call court administration at 886-4060 to see if the video conference room is available. The attorney will schedule their time. The attorney will come to the courthouse and use a video conferencing until that will be in the 1East Courtroom. The attorneys will call the jail at 875-1111, x5194 no more than 15 minutes before their scheduled time to ask their client to meet with them on video. We ask that attorneys only schedule for that day, we will not block time more than 1 day in advance.

Based on the current court and jail needs, it is anticipated the following will be the available time periods for both the court and the jail:

Monday – Friday

8:30 – 11:00 a.m.

3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

As a reminder, this is temporary and only available during the pandemic. Also, if the Court needs the video for any reason, the attorney and client’s video may be cancelled even if it was pre-arranged. If needed, times during the above windows may be blocked out by the Court.