Judges play an essential role in our community and government. They are asked to interpret agreements, interpret the law, determine conflicting interests in property, discern whose testimony is the most credible, determine whether a person charged with a crime should remain in the public while they await their trial and on what conditions, determine if a person convicted of a crime should be granted probation or sentenced to incarceration, etc. They are required to remain independent, resolving the conflicts brought before them on the basis of the facts and law, and to not be persuaded by politics.

In Jefferson County, MO., there are several judicial races in 2016 to determine who will be elected by the voters as Judges of the 23rd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, and thereby assume or continue the responsibilities of a Judge. In two of those races, Divisions 3 and 5, one of the candidates in each is the current judge of that division. Each of these judges has many years of experience and has proven that they are well qualified and capable of satisfying the duties of the position. We would like to discuss each, separately.

The Thurman Law Firm is proud to support Judge Patricia Riehl for re-election as Judge of Division 5 of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County. Judge Riehl has been a member of the Jefferson County Judiciary since 2003, and has established a reputation for fairness to each of the parties who have come before her.


Judge Riehl has been a resident of and spent all of her professional career in Jefferson County since 1982. She was raised in Troy, Missouri and graduated from Buchanan High School. Following graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree in 1979 from Southeast Missouri State University, she received her Juris Doctorate Degree with Distinction, in 1982, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. While in law school, she received the American Juris Award for Constitutional Law.

In 1982, after graduating from law school, Judge Riehl began her practice of law as an associate attorney with the law firm of Hollingsworth and Kramer, in Hillsboro MO. She and the other members of that law firm maintained a broad general practice of law, handling both civil and criminal matters. In 1998, she opened her own law firm in Hillsboro, and continued to handle both civil and criminal matters for her clients.

In 2003 Judge Riehl was appointed as the Drug Court Commissioner for the Circuit Court of Jefferson County by the judges of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County. As the Drug Court Commissioner, she handled criminal related matters in which adults were charged with drug related offences. In 2006, she was elected Judge of Associate Division 13 and was assigned the same duties as previously performed as the Drug Court Commissioner, as well as hearing family law matters, involving both divorcers and adoptions.

As the Judge of Associate Division 13, Judge Riehl expanded the Drug Treatment Courts to include a Juvenile Drug Court, and Family Abuse and Neglect Treatment Court and a Veteran Treatment Court. “As the Judge of the Drug Court, Judge Riehl heard and decided cases involving drug offences by…”, reported Stephen M. Vighi, a partner of the Thurman Law Firm who has concentrated a large part of his practice of law in the area of criminal law. Mr. Vighi further reports that the expansion of the Treatment Courts has provided an opportunity for hundreds of first time drug offenders to avoid incarceration, get educated, and become a productive member of society.

“Judge Riehl extends courtesies to all parties and attorneys that come before her, offering them a reasonable opportunity to present their evidence, argument and law”, states Linda M. Freeman, an associate attorney at the Thurman Law Firm who concentrates a large part of her practice in domestic law and criminal law. “Her decisions reflect a serious consideration of the evidence and facts presented before her, and the applicable law”, states Mrs. Freeman.

In 2016 Judge Riehl was appointed by Governor Nixon to fill a vacancy in Division 5 of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County. Presently, her docket consists of domestic relation cases, the Adult Drug Court, the Veterans Treatment Court, and adoptions. Assignments of types of cases are made by the Presiding Judge, and may change from time to time.

Judge Riehl has also been active in the community. She has spoken to various groups of legal professionals, including the Missouri Association of Defense Attorneys, to the Jefferson County Women’s Bar Association, and at the Crisis Intervention Training provided to Law Enforcement, Juvenile Officers and Division of Children’s Services employees. Additionally, she has spoken to members of various Jefferson County Organizations, including the Rotary, V.F.W. and Kiwanis Clubs.

“Judge Riehl has established a reputation in Jefferson County and the State of Missouri as being a considerate, fair and thorough judge, and a valuable asset to the Circuit Court of Jefferson County”, states David P. Senkel, a partner of the Thurman Law Firm who has represented various clients in domestic cases before and that were decided by Judge Riehl.

Because of her reputation and experience, we encourage the voters of Jefferson County to vote and re-elect Judge Patricia Riel as Judge of Division 5 of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County.