Greene County adds sixth judge in hopes to see cases sped along

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Greene County now has a sixth judge in its circuit court system, and we heard from her today, Oct. 31.

Judge Becky Borthwick is transitioning into that role right now.

She is moving from her position as an associate judge.

At times, the Greene County court system can be really bogged down. And the hope is that adding Borthwick to the Circuit Court will help relieve some of the court congestion.

“We haven’t had a new circuit judge position added in years and years,” Borthwick said.

That will change soon, as the honorable Becky Borthwick will now be the sixth circuit judge for Greene County. Borthwick isn’t new to Greene County, or the issues that it faces.

“Greene County has really become an urban court with urban problems, but yet we still didn’t have that extra circuit judge position, so we were feeling the squeeze everywhere,” Borthwick said.

Borthwick is still transitioning into that role right now, but she expects to hit the ground running once she moves over from the associate side to the circuit side.

“I do anticipate having at least a partial or maybe all criminal docket. I do think to have at least one more circuit judge will help with that,” Borthwick said. “We have a real problem moving cases in Greene County.”

For nearly 55 years, Dee Wampler has been involved in the Greene County Court system in some form, most notably as a defense attorney.

“Some of the circuit court judges at times have had more than 600 cases pending,” Wampler said. “That’s not fair to the criminal defendants waiting. It’s not fair to civil litigants who want their cases heard.”

Still, the problem isn’t simple.

“That is a very complex problem though because it’s not just the number of judges,” Borthwick said. “It’s also the number of public defenders, the speed at which that system works.

“The court is dependant on all of the parts working together, not just the judge.”

Wampler says he can’t blame the judges.

“It should help smooth things along, as long as everybody works hard, and the lawyers show up and are on time, and have their cases ready,” Wampler said. “There’s a lot of faults to go around but I can’t really blame it on the judges.”

Someone will soon replace Borthwick as an associate judge.

But we also got a chance to ask her about a number of other issues, including her philosophy on sentencing and the use of treatment courts for drug addiction.

You can watch her answers right now by clicking here.

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