Judge Messina was appointed to the Jackson County Circuit Court (16th Judicial Circuit) in October 1984. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Avila University, and received her law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
She is an active member of The Missouri Bar and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. She was awarded the Dean of the Bar award in 2008 by the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. She has also served as an adjunct instructor in the MBA program at Avila University.
Since her last retention election, she has handled civil, criminal, and domestic dockets.
Attorneys who responded to survey questions rated Judge Messina on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing a response of “not at all” and 5 representing “completely.”
She received her highest scores for: maintaining and requiring proper order and decorum in the courtroom (4.59); demonstrating appropriate demeanor on the bench (4.53); and treating people equally regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, or any other factor (4.52). Judge Messina’s lower scores were for competence in the law (4.21) and stating reasons and consistently applying the substantive law in rulings on dispositive motions (4.23). However, the committee notes that Judge Messina’s lower scores were far above the average for retention.
The committee also reviewed survey responses submitted by jurors who were seated in jury trials before Judge Messina. Judge Messina received virtually unanimous favorable responses from the jurors on questions relating to 10 separate criteria regarding her conduct throughout the jury trial. The committee has reviewed a written opinion submitted by Judge Messina that dealt with issues related to setting aside a guilty plea in a criminal matter. The committee finds the opinion to be well reasoned, succinct, and clearly written.
A public comment was submitted noting that it was a pleasure to be in Judge Messina’s courtroom.