William Ray Price Jr.

(Tim Bommel / Mo. House Communications office)

Judge William Ray Price, Jr. served on the Missouri Supreme Court for 20 years including two terms as chief justice.

Price left the high court earlier this month to return to private practice.

During his time on the Supreme Court, Price was a staunch supporter of Missouri’s drug courts and argued the state puts too many non-violent offenders in prison.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman spoke with the judge about why it’s important to seek alternatives to prison and other issues facing Missouri courts.

The Supreme Court of Missouri
via Flickr | david_shane

Judge William Ray Price, Jr. vacates the Missouri Supreme Court effective Aug. 1, so someone will need to replace him.

Today, the the Appellate Judicial Commission released the names and demographic information of those vying for the position. 

Interviews will begin Oct. 10, and from these 18 applicants, the Commission will select three people to recommend to Gov. Nixon. The public is allowed to view the interviews in October.

Will be updated.

Updated 4:42 with Price's full resignation letter.

Updated 4:10 p.m. statement from Gov. Nixon

Missouri Supreme Court Judge William Ray Price, Jr. is to resign, according to Supreme Court Communications Counsel Beth Riggert.

The resignation will become effective Aug. 1. Price says he will return to the private practice of law.

(via Flickr/neil conway)

Here's an update to a story we shared with you this morning:

Top officials from Missouri's legislative, executive and judicial branches are joining forces in an effort to revamp Missouri's criminal sentencing practices.

Missouri officials are working with the Pew Center on the States to analyze current sentencing laws, prison and probation programs and recidivism rates. Other states that have done similar studies have enacted laws directing more nonviolent offenders to enhanced probation and drug treatment programs. That generally saves prison beds for the most serious and violent offenses.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

William Ray Price Jr.’s two-year term as Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court ends today.

He spent his last full day in charge talking to reporters about several topics, including the need to fund the state’s drug courts.  Price says that drugs are the “leading, driving force” behind crime nationwide.

The Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court urged lawmakers to leave the state's non-partisan court plan alone during his State of the Judiciary Address today at the State Capitol.

Chief Justice William Ray Price, Jr., spent more than half of his address defending the Missouri Plan.