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      New Mo. chief justice prepares to lead judiciary

      Judge Mary Russell begins a two-year term next week as the leader of Missouri's judiciary and the seven-member state Supreme Court.

      Missouri's incoming chief justice said her priorities include a civic education program about how government operates and expanding electronic filing. She also wants to survey people leaving courthouses about how they think the courts are performing.

      Judge Mary Russell begins a two-year term next week as the leader of Missouri's judiciary and the seven-member state Supreme Court. She spoke to reporters Wednesday at the Supreme Court building in Jefferson City.

      Russell is 54 years old and grew up on a dairy farm in northeastern Missouri near Hannibal. She was appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court in 2004 by Democratic Gov. Bob Holden.

      Outgoing Missouri Chief Justice Richard Teitelman will continue to serve on the high court.