Gary Oxenhandler is a retired Circuit Court Judge.
In 2002, Gary was appointed by the Governor as Circuit Judge for Division II of the 13th Judicial Circuit. In 2004 and 2010, he was elected and re-elected. Prior to coming to the Bench, Gary practiced law in Mid-Missouri for 29 years.
During the course of his practice, Gary was actively involved in his community serving as President of the Boone County Bar Association, Chair of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chair of the City of Columbia’s Race Relations Task Force and Chairing and serving on two Boone County, Missouri, Commissions addressing overcrowding in the Boone County Jail.
While on the Bench, Gary served a term as the Presiding Judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit, a Circuit comprising two counties, with a total catchment population of over 225,000. He was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court as a member of the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission and served as its Acting Chair and then Chair until his retirement. After retirement, Gary served as a Senior Judge accepting assignments from the Supreme Court. When his son, Josh, opened his own firm, Oxenhandler Law, Gary resigned his Senior Judge status so as to join Josh as Of Counsel. Gary continues his membership on the Missouri Supreme Court Civic Education as well as the Missouri Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Ethnic Fairness Commission, both appointments being made by the Missouri Supreme Court.
Judge Oxenhandler created and presided over a domestic relation’s settlement conference docket. From 2007 through 2016, he was involved in nearly 2,500 settlement conferences. Further, he presided over 225-jury trials from the most serious felonies to products liability and conducted innumerable bench trials and hearings.
While on the bench, Gary conducted mediations. In 2015, he completed the Missouri Supreme Court Rule 17 Mediation Training for Civil Cases.
During the course of his practice, Gary served as lead counsel in several civil rights cases involving multiple defendants. In 1987, the American Civil Liberties Union of Mid Missouri named Gary the Civil Libertarian of the Year. In 1998, the University of Missouri presented Gary with the Human Rights Diversity Enhancement Award. As a result of his work in the civil rights arena and the leadership roles that he played in studying race relations, local jail populations and sentencing, it was natural that Judge Oxenhandler was involved with the PEW Trust Justice Reinvestment Initiative when it came to Missouri. Through that initiative, he began to study and speak in numerous venues on his concerns about control of local jail populations and mass incarceration in the United States.
In October 2015, Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court presented Judge Oxenhandler with the Missouri Supreme Court’s Circuit Judge Excellence Award.
In 2016, having attained Missouri’s mandatory retirement age, Gary retired.
Gary and Janet have been married for 47 years. They are very proud of their son.