Associate Circuit Judge Deborah Daniels announced her last
day on the bench will be February 28, 2018. She was first elected to the
office in 2006 and re-elected in 2010 and 2014. Judge Daniels has overseen
the probate division in addition to general civil and criminal dockets.
Throughout her tenure on the bench, Judge Daniels has been a leader in the
13th Circuit with video dockets. Judge Daniels was instrumental in
establishing a video hearing system for involuntary civil commitment
hearings. This approach allows patients to stay in the therapeutic
environment of the mental health facility, prevents the need for transport
of the patients by law enforcement (which saves law enforcement resources,
enhances the security of the courthouse, prevents trauma to the patients
associated with secure transport), and allows the treating psychiatrists to
make the most efficient use of their time in giving expert testimony. This
approach to hearings is patient-centered and a good use of resources.
Judge Daniels worked with her fellow judges on the 13th Judicial Circuit to
adopt local court rules to set the parameters of how the video technology
could be used to effectively conduct involuntary civil commitment hearings.
The end result of her efforts was a docket that is kind to the respondents
and makes the most efficient use of resources, all while protecting
Procedural Due Process. This result would not have been possible without
the commitment of Judge Daniels to these goals coupled with her flexibility
to work with the various stakeholders to achieve them. It has made a
significant difference in Boone County, which is one of the busiest
counties in the State of Missouri for involuntary commitment cases.
On December 6, 2017, Dr. Lauriello and the staff at Missouri Psychiatric
Center presented Judge Daniels with an award for her contributions of 10
years of support to the mental health docket.
In addition, Judge Daniels created a domestic violence docket to ensure
these types of cases were set more quickly. She assisted in successfully
applying for grant funds used to end the cycle of violence in these case
Judge Daniels made the following remarks about her years on the bench:
“It has been my great honor to serve on the bench. My life’s passion has
been the law and the service to the community that the law provides. I
will miss the opportunity to serve as a judge and the privilege of working
with the other judges, lawyers, court personnel, and citizens.”
In 2009, Judge Daniels received the ASTAR (Advance Science and Technology
Adjudication Resource) award for completing 120 hours of court-related
science and technology training and was inducted as an ASTAR fellow. Judge
Daniels has been on the Missouri Supreme Court Committee on Procedure in
Criminal Cases from 2007 to present; Court Automation Committee from 2011
to present; and the ASTAR Trial Judge Committee.
“Judge Daniels’ career in the legal community will remain remarkable and
unsurpassed”, said Presiding Judge Kevin Crane. “I have known Debbie since
she taught me legal research and writing in law school and I have learned a
great deal over the years since then from her. The 13th Circuit and
Missouri will surely miss Judge Daniels’ contributions and intellect.”
Judge Daniels has three children, Ian, Sydney Brette and Paige Harrison.
She was previously a law clerk on the Missouri Supreme for the Honorable
Fred Henley; director of Missouri Supreme Court research staff; adjunct
professor of law at UMC; reporter for the Committee on Procedure in
Criminal Cases; Assistant Prosecuting Attorney; and Chief Counsel:
Criminal Division, Missouri Attorney General’s Office. She is a 1977
graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law and has a B.A., B.S.
from the University of Missouri. After retirement Judge Daniels plans to
visit her children on each coast for longer than 48 hours at a time and to
explore new opportunities to serve the legal community.