JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Three Southeast Missouri judges, an area prosecutor and private attorney were among the candidates to be interviewed Thursday to fill a vacancy on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District.
Kelly W. Parker, presiding circuit judge for the 42nd Judicial Circuit of Wayne, Reynolds, Iron, Crawford and Dent counties; David A. Dolan, presiding circuit judge for the 33rd Judicial Circuit of Scott and Mississippi counties; Scott E. Thomsen, associate circuit judge for Bollinger County, 32nd Judicial Circuit; Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney Steve P. Sokoloff and Bloomfield, Mo., attorney Michael A. Moroni are among the 21 candidates vying for the position.
They are seeking to replace Judge Robert Barney of Dexter, Mo. Having hit the mandatory retirement age of 70, Barney retired Sept. 1.
The Appellate Judicial Commission began the interviews at 8:30 a.m. and was to meet at 2:30 p.m. to select three nominees from the applicant pool for the governor's consideration.
Parker, a graduate of Southwest Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, was elected circuit judge in November 2006 and re-elected in November 2008. His term expires Dec. 13, 2014.
A Democrat, Parker served as assistant Dent County prosecuting attorney from 1991-1995; Dent County prosecuting attorney from 1995-1997; and state representative for the 150th District from 1997-2001.
Parker was appointed Iron County associate circuit judge in 2001 and elected to the position in November 2002.
A major with the Missouri Army National Guard, Parker serves on its Judge Advocate General's Corps, assigned as the senior defense counsel for the 429th Trial Defense Team (Missouri and Nebraska Army National Guard).
Having earned a degree from the University of Memphis, Dolan is a member of the Missouri and Tennessee bar associations.
A Democrat, Dolan was appointed circuit judge in March 1998 and elected in 1998, 2000 and 2006. His term expires Dec. 31.
Dolan was in private practice from 1982 to 1990 and previously served as assistant Scott County prosecuting attorney from 1986 to 1990 and Scott County prosecuting attorney from 1991 to 1993. He was elected Scott County associate circuit judge in 1992 and 1994.
Dolan is a member of the National Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Missouri Juvenile Justice Association and national and Missouri associations of Drug Court Professionals.
Thomsen is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a member of the Missouri, Utah and Nevada bar associations.
A Republican, he worked as an assistant public defender for the 32nd Judicial Circuit and was elected Bollinger County associate circuit judge in 1994. He was re-elected in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. His term expires Dec. 31, 2014.
Sokoloff graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in 1979 and started as Dunklin County's assistant prosecuting attorney that same year.
He served as assistant prosecutor until January 1985 and worked in private practice until 2006.
In 1990, Sokoloff was appointed and elected Dunklin County's prosecuting attorney, a position which became full time in 2007. He now is serving in his sixth term. His term expires Dec. 31, 2014.
A Democrat, Sokoloff also served as president of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in 2004, and for the last four years, he has served on the board of directors of the National District Attorneys Association and as vice chairman of the Missouri Bar Criminal Code Subcommittee.
The subcommittee reportedly has been responsible for writing the criminal code, which is pending in the Legislature at this time.
Sokoloff also serves as the vice chairman of the Missouri Bar Criminal Law Section.
After graduating from the Southern Illinois University-Carbondale School of Law in 1989, Moroni worked as a law clerk for Warren Welliver until the judge's retirement from the Missouri Supreme Court.
Moroni then worked for the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission until he joined Don Rhodes' law firm in Bloomfield as an associate, becoming a partner in the late 1990s.
From 2000 to 2005, Moroni was an associate administrative law judge for the Missouri Division of Workers' Compensation.
For the next couple of years, he worked at the Cape Girardeau, Mo., office of a Sikeston, Mo.-based law firm. During that time he also was an adjunct, then associate professor, for the Barkley School of Law in Paducah, Ky., from 2006 to 2008.
A Democrat, Moroni went into solo private practice in Bloomfield in 2008 and is a member of the Missouri Bar, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, the Workers' Law and Advocacy Group and the American Bar Association.