JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon filled vacant judgeships in three counties in the Ozarks on Tuesday. One appointment created a vacancy in a prosecuting attorney’s office.
Nixon appointed Hickory County Prosecuting Attorney James Hackett to be Hickory County’s associate circuit judge. The position became open after Associate Circuit Judge Michael Hendrickson, 49, was elected as circuit judge for Benton, Dallas, Hickory, Polk and Webster counties (Circuit 30), replacing Judge John Sims, 69, who retired. Hendrickson, a Republican, defeated Emily Prestidge, a Democrat, in November.
Hackett, a Democrat, lives in Hermitage. He has served as the Hickory County prosecuting attorney, a part-time position, since 2000. In addition to his responsibility for prosecuting criminal cases, he also provides legal advice and representation to the county. Hackett also operates a private law practice with offices in Hermitage and Bolivar. Before becoming prosecuting attorney, he was an assistant public defender.
Hackett obtained his law degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Rockhurst University in Kansas City.
Nixon appointed Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bock as Douglas County’s associate circuit judge. The position became open after Associate Circuit Judge Craig Carter, 43, was elected as circuit judge for Douglas, Ozark and Wright counties (Circuit 44), replacing Judge John Moody, 60. Carter, a Republican, had no opposition in the election in November; he defeated Republican Dan Wade in the primary election in August.
Bock has served as an assistant attorney general since 1999, including serving as special prosecutor in criminal cases involving capital murder and sexual offenses. She has represented the state of Missouri in seeking the commitment of sexual predators, and in investigating and prosecuting corruption by public officials. Before working in the Attorney General’s Office, Bock was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Greene County and an assistant public defender.
She obtained her law degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and her undergraduate degree from William Woods University in Fulton.
Nixon appointed a former prosecuting attorney, Kenneth Clayton of Rolla, as one of Phelps County’s two associate circuit judges. The position became open after Associate Circuit Judge Bill Hickle was elected as a circuit judge for Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Texas counties (Circuit 25), replacing Tracy Storie, 64, who retired. Hickle, a Republican, defeated Pulaski County Associate Circuit Judge Colin Long, a Democrat, in the election in November.
Clayton, a Democrat, served two terms as the Phelps County prosecuting attorney from 1999 to 2006. He is a partner in the law firm of Clayton and Anderson and also has served as the acting prosecuting attorney for Pulaski County since May 2012. Before becoming prosecuting attorney, he was an assistant public defender.
Clayton is a graduate of the University of Tulsa School Of Law and of Northeast Missouri (now Truman) State University in Kirksville.