5th Judicial Circuit Court
of Andrew & Buchanan County, Missouri USA
Division 1: Circuit Judge Melissa M. Lawyer
Division 2: Circuit Judge David L. Bolander
Division 3: Circuit Judge Patrick K. Robb
Division 4: Circuit Judge Daniel F. Kellogg
Division 5: Associate Circuit Judge Keith Marquart
Division 6: Associate Circuit Judge Rebecca L. Spencer
Division 7: Associate Circuit Judge Michael Ordnung
Circuit Court Divisions 5 and 6 in Buchanan County and Division 7 in Andrew County are presided over by Associate Circuit Judges. These courts are where the majority of citizens have their contact with the court system. The cases heard by the Associate Circuit Judges include cases involving small claims, landlords and tenants, debt collections, traffic matters, conservation code violations, watercraft violations, minor civil cases, felonies and misdemeanors. Cases assigned to these courts are assigned equally by random. Over 10,000 cases are processed annually.
- Small Claims
- Landlord and tenant
- Civil cases where the amount of the claim is less than $25,000
- Traffic violations
- Conservation Code and Watercraft violations
Claims of less than $3,000 are assigned to the Small Claims Court and are heard in Divisions 5 and 6 in Buchanan County and in Division 7 in Andrew County. Attorneys are not required in Small Claims Court, although attorneys are not prohibited from practicing there. The rules of civil procedure and the rules of evidence do not apply. Small Claims cases are presented by the litigants and heard by the court in an informal setting. The court often decides the case in the courtroom at the first trial setting. Postponements are discouraged.
Landlord and tenant
Disputes between landlords and tenants are by law assigned to Associate Circuit Court judges. The court date is assigned at filing. The trial of these cases must be heard by the court on this date unless the case is postponed for a good cause. Postponements are discouraged. The rules of evidence an the rules of civil procedure apply to these cases. Attorneys are not required, but their representation is helpful.
Civil Cases where the amount of the Claim is less than $25,000
These cases are assigned to be heard by the Associate Circuit Court judges by law. Since many of these cases are not actually disputed, the cases are set at filing for a trial setting hearing. At this hearing, it is determined if the case is disputed. If it is, the case is set for trial on a future date after consultation with the litigants. If the case is not in dispute or if the defendant fails to appear after service of process, a judgment is entered for the plaintiff.
Unless otherwise indicated at the time of a traffic stop, all state court traffic violations are handled initially by the Fine Collection Center (FCC) in Jefferson City, MO.
If a plea of not guilty is entered through the FCC, or if the ticket required a mandatory court appearance as indicated at the time of the traffic stop, the case is assigned to one of the Associate Circuit Court judges.
Any traffic ticket not disposed by payment of plea of not guilty through the FCC is returned to the court for processing. Failure to pay or otherwise dispose of a traffic ticket results in a warrant and a driver’s license revocation.
Conservation Code and Watercraft Ciolations
Some of these are handled by the Fine Collection Center. Others require a mandatory court appearance and ordinarily result in assessment of a fine. Failure to appear or otherwise dispose of the violation by plea or trial results in a warrant.
All misdemeanor cases are filed in Divisions 5 and 6 in Buchanan County and Division 7 in Andrew County. Unless special circumstances exist, all misdemeanors are initiated by the filing of information and the issuance of a summons. If the accused fails to appear on a summons or if the accused is unable to be served a summons, the court issues a warrant. When an accused first appears in court, they are arraigned and asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. A guilty plea results in the court imposing a sentence within a range of punishment allowed for the offense by state law. A not guilty plea results in the case being set for a trial setting hearing when a trial date is assigned after consultation with the accused, the accused’s attorney and the prosecutor.
All felony cases are initially filed in Division 5 and 6 in Buchanan County and Division 7 in Andrew County. Upon the filing of a felony and an initial finding of probable cause, the judge issues a warrant for the accused. When the accused is arrested, an arraignment is conducted. At the arraignment, the court sets the case for a Preliminary Hearing. The purpose of this hearing is for the court to determine whether there is probable cause to believe a felony has been committed and a probable cause to believe the accused committed the felony. If probable cause is found by the Associate Circuit judge, the case is transferred to a Circuit Court judge for arraignment on the felony information and trial. In Buchanan County, the felony charges are assigned for trial in Division 3 and 4 of the Circuit Court. In Andrew County, the felony charges are assigned to Division 2 and 3 of the Circuit Court.
In Buchanan and Andrew County, class D felonies of non-support are assigned to the Associate Circuit Court judges for trial.
In order to process cases more efficiently and provide greater convenience to the offenders, their attorneys, prosecutors and victims certain types of cases are set at the same time along with other cases of similar type. Cases processed in this manner include those involving domestic violence, failure to pay child support and offenses involving alcohol or drug abuse.