Judges Michael Manners and Ann Mesle this week retire from of the Jackson County Circuit Court.
Mesle retired Wednesday, July 31 and Manners retired Aug. 1. Both have served nearly 13 years as a circuit judge, after being appointed by Gov. Roger Wilson in November 2000.
Manners, in September will be receiving an award for his work as judge, with the Missouri Bar honoring him with the Theodore McMillan Judicial Excellence Award.
“I have loved my time on the bench, especially my dealings with juries,” Manners said. “Having presided over something like 170 jury trials, my faith in our justice system is stronger than ever.”
Manners is returning to private practice, according to a written statement, joining the firm of Langdon & Emison which does plaintiff’s work on a national level and based in Lexington, Mo.
“Even though I have enjoyed most of my time as a judge, I have missed the thrill of being in trial. I look forward to getting back into the arena,” Manners said.
Manners had worked as a trial attorney for 24 years prior to his appointment. In 2008 and 2009, he was voted “Best Circuit Judge in the State” through a statewide poll of attorneys conducted by the legal publication Missouri Lawyers Weekly. In 2012, he received the Joseph E. Stevens, Jr. Aspire to Excellence Award presented by the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. Manners also had the honor of being selected four times by the appellate Judicial Commission as a candidate for a judicial opening with the Missouri Supreme Court. Prior to his appointment as a judge, Manners was President of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys and President of the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association. He is a 1976 graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School.
Mesle received many honors and awards during her career including the Missouri Bar Association’s Theodore McMillian Judicial Excellence Award in 2010, the University of Missouri–Kansas City Law School’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2000 and its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, and the Association of Women Lawyers’ Judge of the Year Award in 2004. She served as president of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association in 1996 and president of the UMKC Law Foundation in 1994.
Prior to her appointment, she had 28 years legal experience with Achtenberg, Sandler & Balken, Southwestern Bell and Lathrop & Gage.
Throughout her career, Mesle was active in civic, education, and charitable communities and in retirement, she said, she’ll continue this work. Currently she is chair of the Park University Board of Trustees. She also serves on the board of Diastole Scholars’ Center, the Child Abuse Protection Center and the Metropolitan Bar Foundation. She has served on various boards for UMKC for more than 20 years.
“Judges never retire,” Mesle said, “We just move our lives in challenging new directions.”