Editorial

Congratulations to retiring Judge Blanton

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Former U.S. Magistrate Judge Lewis M. Blanton spent a career in the judicial system.

A former associate judge in Scott County, Blanton was named the southeastern division's first sitting U.S. magistrate judge for the Eastern District of Missouri in 1991. He served in the court for the next two decades, recently retiring after 23 years.

A retirement reception was held in Blanton's honor on Feb. 28. An impressive lineup of current and former judges attended.

Retired U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr. pointed out Blanton's experience before his time as a U.S. judge.

"He could hit the ground running because of his experience in the state court," he said.

Others talked about his faith, integrity and intelligence. His ability to handle a confrontational situation was recognized.

Judicial assistant Marcella Mack, who worked with Blanton for 28 years, also retired.

"It's kind of funny, the feelings at a time like this," Blanton said. "It's mixed, because what you do becomes a part of you, and when you retire, you leave that part behind, but it's ... an excellent court, and I have enjoyed the privilege of working here."

Abbie Crites-Leoni, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, replaced Blanton on the court.

Judicial positions are a unique challenge. It's important to have quality individuals to serve. It takes a mix of grace, justice, knowledge and management. Judge Blanton was well thought of by colleagues. We wish him the best in retirement.

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