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Appellate Judicial Commission announces nominees for Newton vacancy on Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District

13 October 2021

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Paul C. Wilson, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri and chair of the Appellate Judicial Commission, announces the commission today submitted to Governor Michael L. Parson its panel of nominees to fill the vacancy on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District. This vacancy exists due to the July 2021 retirement of Judge Thomas H. Newton.

The commission supports the three nominees. After nearly five hours of public interviews, three hours of deliberations and nine rounds of balloting, the nominees are Shaun J. Mackelprang, Jalilah Otto and Janet L. Sutton.

Mackelprang is deputy attorney general in the criminal division of the attorney general’s office in Jefferson City. He was born in 1971 and resides in Holts Summit. He earned his bachelor of arts in English in 1994 from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, and his law degree in 1997 from the J. Reuben Clark School of Law at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He received six votes. 

Otto is a circuit judge and the family court division administrative judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit (Jackson County) in Kansas City. She was born in 1977 and resides in Kansas City. She earned her bachelor of arts in communication and political science in 1999 from Tulane University in New Orleans and her law degree in 2002 from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. She received six votes. 

Sutton is a circuit judge in the 7th Judicial Circuit (Clay County). She was born in 1965 and resides in Liberty. She earned her bachelor of arts in communication studies in 1987 and her law degree in 1990, both from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She received six votes. 

The governor has 60 days to select one member of the panel to fill the vacancy. Should he fail to do so, the Missouri Constitution directs the commission to make the appointment.

In addition to Wilson, the commission is composed of Scott S. Bethune of Kansas City, Neil Chanter of Springfield, Timothy M. Drury of St. Louis, Sally Hargis of Springfield, Thomas K. Neill of St. Louis and Kathy Ritter of Columbia.    

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Note: Links to application materials and photos typically are disabled once the governor has made his selection.

Contact: Beth S. Riggert

Communications Counsel

Supreme Court of Missouri

(573) 751-3676