Former chief judge  Gary W. Lynch has been elected by the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, as its new chief judge beginning July 1, 2021. His new term as chief judge follows that of Judge Jeffrey W. Bates, who remains a judge of the court.

The chief judge is the administrative officer of the court and presides at all sessions, conferences, hearings, and meetings of the court en banc (with all seven members). The Southern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals hears all appeals from the circuit courts of the southern 44 counties in the state, except those appeals reserved exclusively to the Supreme Court of Missouri, and has courtrooms located in Springfield and Poplar Bluff.

Lynch previously served as the southern district’s chief judge from July 2007 through June 2009. He was appointed to the appeals court in January 2006 after serving four years as an associate circuit judge in Polk County (in the 30th Judicial Circuit) and practicing law for 25 years in Bolivar. Lynch is a member and past president of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal, a national organization dedicated to the administration of justice in the nation’s intermediate appellate courts and the continuing education of its chief judges. He previously served six years on the National Center for State Courts board of directors. Lynch also is chair of the Missouri Court Automation Committee, a statutory committee that oversees the state’s court technology systems. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and elementary education from Southwest Baptist University and his law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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