Gov. Jay Nixon today named Judge George W. Draper III as the newest member of the Missouri Supreme Court. Judge Draper, who has served on the bench of the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District since 2000, will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Michael Wolff in August.
"In his 17 years on the bench and in his 10 years of service as a circuit attorney in St. Louis, Judge Draper has demonstrated a dedication to justice and to serving the people of this state," Gov. Nixon said. "Those decades of experience and his legal acumen will enable him to be an outstanding judge on the Missouri Supreme Court. I am very pleased to be able to name this eminently qualified jurist to the state's highest court."
While on the Appeals Court, Judge Draper heard a variety of civil and criminal appeals and authored several hundred opinions. He served as Chief Judge of the Court from 2005 to 2006. Prior to his appointment to the appellate court, Judge Draper served first as an associate circuit judge from 1994 to 1998 and then as a circuit judge from 1998 to 2000 in St. Louis County, where his docket included significant criminal and civil cases. Judge Draper has also served on the Judicial Conference Task Force on Drug Courts, and he also oversaw cases including child abuse and neglect.
While serving as a prosecutor with the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office from 1984 to 1994, Judge Draper prosecuted numerous major felony cases and worked closely with law enforcement. As an Assistant Circuit Attorney from 1984 to 1990, Judge Draper presented more than 350 felony cases to the Grand Jury; conducted more than 200 felony preliminary hearings; and tried more than 65 felony cases. In 1990, he was promoted to team leader in the circuit attorney's office, where he personally prosecuted more than 12 major felonies. In 1993, he was named first assistant circuit attorney, working directly with other law enforcement agencies and organizations and overseeing the office's staff, while still prosecuting major cases.
A graduate of Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., Judge Draper obtained his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta. While serving on the bench, he also has taught trial advocacy classes at the Saint Louis University School of Law since 1996.
Judge Draper has been active in several bar associations, including the Mound City Bar Association and the Missouri Bar Association, and been supportive of the Missouri Asian Bar Association, as well as in Covenant Community Church.
Judge Draper was one of three candidates presented to the Governor for his consideration by the Appellate Judicial Commission under the Missouri Court Plan.