Honorable H. Michael Coburn Community Service Award

The Award

This award was created in 1995 as part of Legal Aid’s 30th anniversary celebration. Legal Aid represents thousands of individuals annually with problems such as domestic violence, which were of great concern to the late Judge H. Michael Coburn.

In addition to working for reform in the criminal justice system as it relates to domestic violence, Judge Coburn was committed to a wide range of community and civic causes. Legal Aid created an award in his memory to pay tribute to a member of the bar whose public service activities merit recognition. The recipient will be an example that may inspire others in the profession of law to noble purpose and honorable effort in service to their community.

Qualifications

  •  Current member of the Missouri Bar practicing in the Jackson County area.
  • Demonstrated, in the spirit of Legal Aid, outstanding service to advancing the administration of justice in the Jackson County area.
  • Outstanding service to the community with a particular emphasis on volunteer activity and leadership outside of work for bar associations.

 The Procedure

The nomination form, along with appropriate supporting materials is below.  Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 13, 2015 to The Coburn Community Service Award Committee, c/o Legal Aid of Western Missouri, 1125 Grand Avenue, Suite 1900, Kansas City, Missouri, 64106.  Applications may also be submitted on-line to glombardi@lawmo.org.  Any questions should be directed by e-mail to Gregg Lombardi at glombardi@lawmo.org.

Click Here for the Nomination Form

In memoriam: Tamara Dominguez

Last month our community bore witness to an horrific crime against humanity perpetrated on Tamara Dominguez, a woman born with a sex-determinative chromosomal combination of XY.  After Tamara’s slaying supporters gathered in mourning to lend support to her friends and family and rallied in defense of trans rights. Individuals theorized over social and news media that the crime was motivated by rage when Tamara’s client discovered “she was actually a man,” particularizing and isolating intellectually the situation to make themselves and others feel more at ease. “Why was she working as a prostitute?” “Why was she in such a dangerous part of the city at night?” “Doesn’t she have a duty to tell her John upfront she was trans?” “Serves her right.”  Blaming-the-vicitm conversations abound.

Other questions should be asked.  What do we need to do to better inform people that gender and sex are different?  What does it say about our society that Tamara, a beautiful woman, was relegated to work as a prostitute rather than able to find meaningful employ in a different field?  Why is this crime not discussed first as a crime against humanity, and then treated with particularity?  What prevents us from seeing Tamara’s humanity first?  How can we make our cities safer?  Where do we go from here?

If you or a loved one is the victim of violence, please reach out to the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, the Kansas City Police Department or any of the numerous resources available in our community. If you’re an undocumented or out of status immigrant, do not be afraid to approach law enforcement; in fact, U-Visas are available to you to help you legitimize your status in the country if you make a police report and cooperate with authorities in solving the crime.  Working together, we can all help to make our society safer, more aware, more vigilant, and more peaceful.

Rest in peace, Tamara.

Judicial Vacancies Open Now

NOTICE OF ASSOCIATE CIRCUIT JUDGE VACANCY, SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT (JACKSON COUNTY), DIVISION 34
The Sixteenth Circuit Judicial Commission is accepting applications for the position of Associate Circuit Judge, Division 34 of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit (Jackson County- Independence). This position was newly created by the Missouri General Assembly.
Citizens are encouraged to nominate well-qualified candidates for the Commission’s consideration. The Missouri Constitution, Article V, Section 21, requires that an Associate Circuit Judge be at least twenty-five years old, licensed to practice law in Missouri, a qualified voter of Missouri, and a resident of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit. Nominations should be submitted to the contact person listed below.
Applications and instructions are available on the website for Missouri Courts,http://www.courts.mo.gov/
The application and instructions are also available at the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, 1300 Oak Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The Commission must receive all completed applications for this vacancy by 4:30 p.m. on September 25, 2015.
The Commission will meet on October 20, 2015 at the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, to conduct public interviews of the applicants and select a panel of three nominees for the vacancy. Thereafter, Governor Jay Nixon will have sixty days to appoint one of the three nominees as Associate Circuit Judge in Division 34.
Members of the Commission are Alok Ahuja, Chief Judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District; attorneys Scott S. Bethune and Teresa A. Woody; and lay members William C. Gautreaux and Pastor Eric D. Williams.
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NOTICE OF ASSOCIATE CIRCUIT JUDGE VACANCY, SEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT (CLAY COUNTY), DIVISION 9
The Seventh Circuit Judicial Commission is accepting applications for the position of Associate Circuit Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit (Clay County). This position was newly created by the Missouri General Assembly.
Citizens are encouraged to nominate well-qualified candidates for the Commission’s consideration. The Missouri Constitution, Article V, Section 21, requires that an Associate Circuit Judge be at least twenty-five years old, licensed to practice law in Missouri, a qualified voter of Missouri, and a resident of the Seventh Judicial Circuit. Nominations should be submitted to the contact person listed below.
Applications and instructions are available on the website for Missouri Courts,http://www.courts.mo.gov
(under the quick link for “Judicial Vacancies”).
The application and instructions are also available at the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, 1300 Oak Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The Commission must receive all completed applications for this vacancy by 4:30 p.m. on September 25, 2015.
The Commission will meet on October 26, 2015 at the Clay County Circuit Court in Liberty to conduct public interviews of the applicants and select a panel of three nominees for the vacancy. Thereafter, Governor Jay Nixon will have sixty days to appoint one of the three nominees as Associate Circuit Judge.
Members of the Commission are Alok Ahuja, Chief Judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District; attorneys Ben T. Schmitt and James H. Thompson, Jr.; and lay members Dr. Lancer Gates and Jason Starr.

KC LEGAL Endorses Cynthia Dodge for Municipal Judge of Division 204

KC LEGAL is glad to announce its support for Cynthia Dodge as she seeks a position as a judge in Division 204 of the Kansas City Municipal Division, 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, Jackson County. Ms. Dodge possesses all of the necessary qualities for the position and will work dutifully to provide equal justice. She will be an asset to the Municipal Division and we heartily lend her our backing!

Congratulations to our Scholarship Recipients for 2015-2016!

KC LEGAL is pleased to announce the beneficiaries of our scholarship program for the 2015-2016 law school term. Each received a $750 scholarship to help defray the cost of their education by demonstrating their commitment to LGBT equality.  The lucky recipients are:

  • Melanie Van Leeuwen,  UMKC Law
  • Christina Sitgreaves ,  UMKC Law
  • Travis Freeman, KU Law
  • Lindsay Schermer, KU Law

Our scholarship program is open annually to law students from MU, KU, and UMKC. Congratulations to Melanie, Christina, Travis and Lindsay!

 

ASSISTANT CITY ATTORNEY POSITIONS:

The City of Kansas City, Missouri Law Department has open positions in its Corporate/Litigation Section and the City Prosecutor’s Office (with an emphasis on Domestic Violence cases in the 1st year).   The starting salary is $58,176 per year plus excellent benefits. Candidates must submit an on-line application at http://kcmo.gov/humanresources/careers-2/.  Along with the application, please submit a cover letter that states the  position you are interested in (or both) , resume, and Law School Transcript (with class rank).  Interviewees will need three references and a writing sample.  REQUIRES graduation from an accredited school of law.   Please contact Jim Brady at (816) 513-3101 if you have any questions.

An Historic Day: Marriage Equality is Here and Now!

Today we send out our heart-felt and hearty congratulations to all supporters of marriage equality everywhere!  Triumph is ours to revel in!

Thank you, Justice Kennedy, for these words from your opinion which so clearly explain the essence of the matter:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The Missouri Bar Diversity Summit

Amy Fowler and Jim Breckenridge represented KC LEGAL in St. Louis at the Diversity Summit on May 19 & 20. Important questions were asked: how do we properly vet judicial candidates and lend them our support? To what degree is implicit bias still present in our lives and profession? What can we do to increase diversity in the courtroom and boost public confidence in our legal system? Are we employing best practices in admitting law students and incorporating diverse lawyers into the profession? Thanks to all the participants including Kimberly Norwood, Ellen Suni, Stephanie Scharf, Michelle Wimes, Lisa Tatum, Michael Minton, Willie Epps, John Amman and Judges Draper, Quigless, Jackson, Farragut-Hemphill and Wimes for your commitment to equality and for enlightening us on what we’ve done well and on what we still have to do!

KC LEGAL & MAFA

The Midwest Alternative Family Alliance and KC LEGAL joined together on March 7 for a community centered educational presentation to inform attendees on LGBT legal issues. Two of our board members, Aaron House and Madeline Johnson, presented alongside other members of the legal community and were instrumental in the event’s success. Topics included family law, name changes, estate planning, and others. Our thanks to the speakers, organizers, and attendees!