United States Magistrate Judge Shirley Mensah was sworn in Monday for a five-year term as chief magistrate judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. She replaces U.S. Magistrate Judge Nannette Baker, who concluded her five-year term. This occasion marked the first time in the history of the Court where the position of the post of chief judge was passed from one African American to another.
Mensah has served as a magistrate judge since 2012 and has served in several leadership roles both within the District Court and across the federal judiciary, including her tenure on the Judicial Conference of the United States Defender Services Committee.
Mensah grew up in Liberia until a military coup caused her family to emigrate to the United States, an experience that led in part to her pursuit of a career in law. After graduating from Washington University School of Law, Judge Mensah worked at the law firm now known as Husch Blackwell before joining the Court in 2012.
Outgoing Chief Magistrate Judge Nannette A. Baker completed a successful five-year term that saw the addition of two new Magistrate Judges and a massive increase in the Court’s criminal caseload.