By Christopher Knoll | Jan 31, 2017

ST. LOUIS — A 26-year veteran of Missouri’s 22nd Judicial Circuit has been tapped by the state’s Supreme Court to temporarily replace suspended Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer of the 45th Circuit Court.

Starting on Feb. 1, Judge Thomas Frawley will become the presiding judge for the 45th Circuit Court after Mennemeyer was removed from the bench following allegations of arbitrarily delaying defendants’ cases for months and attempting to intimidate public defenders she was feuding with.

“I’m honored by the decision of (Supreme Court) Justice Breckenridge to appoint me,” Frawley told the St. Louis Record.

Fawley graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and then went on to receive his law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law. Frawley, who spent nearly 20 years in private practice, has served in the 22nd Circuit Court since 1991.

The judge recalled his humble beginnings.

“After law school, I worked at a firm with three men,” Frawley said. “My office consisted of a copy machine and a coffee maker.”

While he may have wondered how long such a state of operations would last back then, he is now gearing up to assume more responsibilities as a noted circuit court judge.

“I’m taking the six months vacancy from Judge Mennemeyer who was suspended and was the presiding judge for the (45th) Circuit,” Frawley said. “My obligation, my job is to run the circuit as well as to do the cases that Judge Mennemeyer would have heard, criminal, domestic or whatever they may be.”

Over his career, Frawley has earned a reputation as a child protection advocate and has accumulated many awards. His fellow justices have consistently awarded him high grades.

“My wife and I were foster parents for quite a while, and we had a bunch of foster kids come through the house,” Frawley said. “While I was on a juvenile court from 2000 to 2005, we took on a project that was new to the state that required more frequent hearings with the kids, and we were told that a metropolitan circuit wouldn’t be able to do it. Well, that was really all that we needed to hear, to be told that we couldn’t do it.”

Now the program runs statewide and has received the continued support of other judges and child advocates. While Frawley noted that it was not his team alone that carried the program across municipal lines, he believes his was the first metropolitan circuit to advocate for it.

Frawley was quick to note that his success was not the sole result of his individual effort. Saying he was “most proud of the people I work with,” Frawley specifically thanked his personal staff, including his secretary and his clerks, as well as former Missouri Speaker of the House Catherine Hanaway, for their help in improving the lives of Missourians and that of their children. 

Alerts Sign-up

Get notified the next time we write about Missouri Supreme Court!

By signing up for alerts, you agree to the privacy policy & terms of service.

Organizations in this Story

Missouri Supreme Court

More News