Rep. Richardson files for judgeship

Friday, March 1, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A state lawmaker who pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in 1997 filed Thursday as a candidate for a circuit judgeship in Southeast Missouri.

Rep. Mark Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, has served in the House for 12 years and is barred by term limits from seeking re-election.

So far, he is the only Republican to have filed for the circuit judgeship in the 36th Circuit, which comprises Butler and Ripley counties.

Incumbent Judge W. Robert Cope is retiring, and public defender Robert Smith is the only candidate so far in the Democratic primary. Candidate filing ends March 26.

While many other term-limited House members are running for Senate, Richardson said he considered the judgeship the best way to continue in public service yet remain close to home.

Richardson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated and child endangerment after an April 1997 arrest in Jefferson City. His 4-year-old daughter was in the car when he was stopped on U.S. 50.

As part of his probationary sentence, Richardson said he lost his driver's license for three months, did 200 hours of community service and attended seminars.

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