Senior Judge J. Edward Sweeney is a former Presiding Judge and Chief Juvenile Judge of the 39th Judicial Circuit comprised of Barry, Lawrence and Stone Counties. Judge Sweeney is a 1962 graduate of Monett High School. He received his undergraduate degree from Marquette University in 1966. He earned his J.D. from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law in 1969. In November of 1969, he was inducted into the United States Army. He was honorably discharged in 1971 after serving a tour of duty in Vietnam. He returned to Monett and entered the private practice of law with his father, Edward V. Sweeney. In 1973-74, he served as the Prosecuting Attorney of Barry County. In 1978, he was honored by the Missouri Bar and named a recipient of the Lon O. Hocker Award. He continued to practice with the firm of Sweeney & Sweeney until 1985. On September 11, 1985, he was appointed Associated Circuit Judge of Barry County. He was elected to the position in 1986 and 1990. In 1994, he was elected Circuit Judge for the 39th Judicial Circuit and held that position until his retirement in 2006. In addition to his trial and administrative duties, he encouraged school teachers to arrange field trips to the courthouses and observe court proceedings including jury trials. He served as a judge at schools where mock trials were held to educate youth about the dangers of teen drinking and driving. He also spoke to community organizations and at senior centers concerning legislative changes. Judge Sweeney has served on various Supreme Court committees such as Judge Transfer and Time Standards. He presently is a member of the Gender and Justice Joint Committee of the Missouri Bar and the Missouri Supreme Court. In addition to hearing cases within the 39th Circuit, he has received assignments from the Supreme Court whereby he has presided over litigation in another 14 counties. He is a member of the Missouri Bar, the 39th Judicial Circuit Bar Association and Treasurer since 1972 and is a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. Judge Sweeney has been involved in civic activities. He is a member of the Monett Chamber of Commerce and is a past President of the Chamber. He is a member of the American Legion Post #91 and VFW Post 4207 in Monett. [He actively supports Monett schools and is Chairman of the Priscilla Bradford Scholarship Fund. Judge Sweeney previously served on the lay board of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Monett.] He is currently on the lay advisory board of Cox Monett Hospital and is President of the board. Judge Sweeney is a lifetime parishioner of St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Monett. He has been a member of the parish council and serves as lector. He is a member of the Barry County Senior Citizens’ Services Fund Board and serves as Secretary. He received the 2005 “Judge of the Year” award from 7 Valleys Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, and the 2009 Karan Huffmaster Children’s Center Award, an organization which works with child abuse assessment and treatment. Judge Sweeney continues to serve as a Senior Judge at the trial level and has sat as a Special Judge on the Court of Appeals, Southern District. He and his wife, Donna, were married in 1973 and have two grown children, Vincent and Marlena.
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