Chief justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri Richard B. Teitelman delivered the State of the Judiciary address Wednesday morning, during a joint session of the General Assembly in Jefferson City. He worked to outline what the judiciary is doing to create more opportunities for people in Missouri to gain access to the courts. Teitelman remarked on the many legal success stories in the state, including that of Alice Conway, assistant general counsel at Monsanto, who earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature at the same time as she earned her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, is a mezzosoprano who has studied at Julliard; and did all this reading in Braille, as she has been blind since infancy. His telling of Alice’s story was to emphasize that at the Supreme Court level, they are working to provide closed-captioning services for the oral arguments streaming online, providing informational brochures in Braille and audio files for the blind. Through grant funding, they are providing interpreters as needed in all criminal, family, domestic and juvenile cases, and now have a dedicated language-access point of contact for every county in the state. As another statewide effort, Teitelman says the courts continue to try to make it easier and more affordable for people to file cases. The Supreme Court, all three districts of the court of appeals, and the circuit courts in Callaway and St. Charles counties are up and running in the Missouri eFiling System, and an additional 25 county circuit courts plan to join the eFiling System this year. With a graduation rates exceeding 50 percent, Missouri now has more than 12,000 graduates who successfully have completed treatment court programs. In addition, nearly 600 drug-free babies have been born to treatment court participants. Teitelman closed in thanking the legislative branch and those in the executive branch for working with the judiciary during the last year to implement meaningful reforms that make sentencing for nonviolent offenders more effective and the state safer.
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