COLUMBIA — Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Associate Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter to fill the vacant circuit judge seat for the 13th Circuit on Thursday.
The position had been open since Oct. 1, following the retirement of Judge Gene Hamilton.
"In her eight years on the bench, Judge Carpenter has earned the respect of the community, the attorneys who appear before her and her fellow judges," Gov. Nixon said in a news release. "I am pleased to appoint her as a circuit judge to serve the people of the counties in this circuit."
Carpenter said she was excited to return to jury trials, which she didn't oversee as an associate circuit judge. She met with 13th Circuit Presiding Judge Gary Oxenhandler on Thursday evening to discuss her new appointment.
"I'm very happy, just overwhelmed," she said. "I know it's a trite thing to say, but it's true."
As an associate judge, Carpenter spent half her time presiding over the alternative sentencing courts, which consist of the drug, mental health, reintegration and DWI courts.
Oxenhandler said it is still up in the air who will preside over these courts now, but he was "confident that Judge Carpenter will be integrally involved."
The governor will choose a new associate circuit judge to replace Carpenter, the governor's spokesman Scott Holste said. Applications are being accepted.
Carpenter was appointed an associate circuit judge in 2002 and was elected in 2006 and 2010. She worked as a drug court commissioner from 1999 to 2002.
Before that, she operated a private law practice after obtaining her bachelor's and law degrees from MU.