Nixon appoints Carpenter to replace Hamilton

Christine Carpenter

Christine Carpenter

The appointment of Associate Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter of Columbia as Circuit Judge by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon means the 13th Judicial Circuit, which includes Boone and Callaway counties, no longer has a full circuit judge from Callaway County.

Carpenter replaces Division 1 Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton of Callaway County, who retired Oct. 1.

Nixon did not consult with members of the Boone County Democratic Committee nor the Callaway County Democratic Committee before making the appointment to replace Hamilton.

Nixon also waited until after the general election to make the appointment. Carpenter was re-elected as Division 9 Associate Circuit Judge on Nov. 2. This means that Nixon also will appoint Carpenter’s successor, who will not run for re-election until the Division 9 Associate Circuit Judge’s term expires.

Carpenter, a Democrat, will serve the remainder of Hamilton’s term through 2012 when she will run for a full term as circuit judge.

Carpenter’s husband is Joe Bindbeutel, who was appointed to two major positions in state government but drew fire from members of the Missouri General Assembly and he was not confirmed by the Missouri Senate.

Bindbeutel was employed by Nixon when he was attorney general. After Nixon was elected governor, Bindbeutel was hired as deputy director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources when the department suppressed a report of high levels of E. coli bacteria in water tested at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Bindbeutel was appointed by Nixon earlier to the Public Service Commission but the nomination was stalled in the Missouri General Assembly. Opposition also developed to his appointment later to the Administrative Hearing Commission.

Nixon had appointed Bindbeutel to the Administrative Hearing Commission last year but withdrew the appointment after an investigation showed his longtime aide was responsible for not releasing a report on E. coli contamination at the Lake of the Ozarks. Bindbeutel’s appointment to the Administrative Hearing Commission also drew opposition in the Missouri Senate.

At the time, Nixon said “Joe Bindbeutel made an error in judgment in not releasing the Lake of the Ozark samples. Because of that error and the jeopardy in which it placed the public’s trust, it is proper for me to withdraw his appointment from the Administrative Hearing Commission.”

In announcing the appointment of Associate Circuit Judge Carpenter to Division One Circuit Judge, Nixon said she “has earned the respect of the community, the attorneys who appear before her, and her fellow judges. I am pleased to appoint her as a circuit judge to serve the people of the counties in this circuit.”

Carpenter was appointed as associate circuit judge in 2002, then elected in 2006 and 2010. Prior to serving on the bench, she was a drug court commissioner from 1999 to 2002.

Before becoming a judge, Carpenter operated a private law practice. She is a current member of the Missouri Association of Drug Court Professionals. She also was a board member of the Associate Circuit Judges Association.

A resident of Missouri for more than 40 years, Carpenter attended Missouri State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of Missouri.

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