Judge Sweeney's 23 years of experience on the bench gives him the background to mediate or arbitrate the full range of civil disputes. He presided over more than 300 jury trials including personal injury and medical malpractice, business and construction litigation, and labor and employment litigation. As an arbitrator, Sweeney brings his 23 years of experience with hundreds of court-tried cases in which he was called upon to evaluate the facts and apply the law. His reputation for fairness and legal ability is well-known in the legal community. Indicative of Judge Sweeney's reputation is the fact that he was virtually never disqualified by the attorneys in the cases before him. Judge Sweeney's background in labor and employment law includes his teaching the subject at Missouri State University and his serving as an arbitrator in labor disputes before going on the bench. He is an approved neutral for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. As a mediator, Sweeney's experience allows him to help the parties recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their cases relative to the processes and tendencies of juries in southwest Missouri. Judge Sweeney has regularly conducted mediations and arbitrations since retiring from the bench in November, 2007. Judge J. Miles Sweeney was born in Pittsburg, Kansas and attended the University of Kansas Undergraduate ’67 and Law ’72 where he was an editor of the Law Review. In between, he was a First Lieutenant in the U. S. Army serving one year in Vietnam. He practiced law from 1972 until 1984, mostly with partner Ken Johnson in the firm of Johnson and Sweeney. In 1984, he was appointed Associate Circuit Judge by Governor Kit Bond. He was subsequently elected without opposition. In 1990, he was appointed Circuit Judge by Governor Ashcroft and has since been elected, again without opposition. He has served 9 years as Presiding Judge of Greene County and was on the Presiding Judges Executive Committee. In 1985, Judge Sweeney organized the Community Alternative Service Program, a Not-for-Profit Corporation which receives nonviolent offenders from the court on probation and supervises their community service. It is self-funded and uses no tax dollars. It places offenders in 250 different community agencies and the total value of the services rendered is about $1,000,000.00 per year. He received the David Woodruff Community Justice Award for this accomplishment. There are now 8 other agencies across the State organized on the same model. Judge Sweeney introduced the Children First mandatory parent education program for Greene and surrounding Counties. He coordinated with the Burrell Mental Health Center to provide the programming. This type of program for the parents with minor children involved in divorce later was made mandatory by state law. Judge Sweeney has tried over 300 jury trials including 2 on National Court TV. Of those, He has been reversed 3 time for a reversal rate of about 1- percent. He implemented local improvements in the jury system and helped draft and testified in favor of statewide legislation on jury reform. Judge Sweeney has served the Judiciary of the State in a variety of committee positions. He is Vice-Chairman of the Circuit Court Budget Committee. He is a member of the Trial Judge Education Committee, the Chief Justice’ Advisory Committee, and the Judicial Education Coordinating Committee. He is past chairman of the Greene County Computerization Committee and the Implementation Committee for the Jail population reduction project in Greene County. He is a past president of the Missouri Trial Judges Association. For 11 years, he was an adjunct professor at SMSU, teaching Business Law and Labor Law. His wife Karen recently retired as Executive Vice President at Drury University and is now Head-of-School at the Summit Preparatory School. They have a daughter and son-in-law, Beth and Jason, and two grandchildren.
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