When Judge Edith L. Messina was appointed to the bench in 1984 by Gov. Christopher S. Bond, she became the first female Circuit Judge in Jackson County since the creation of the circuit in 1826. Judge Messina was also the first woman elected by her peers to be the 16th Circuit’s Presiding Judge, serving in that capacity from 1998 – 2000. Prior to her judicial career, Judge Messina worked in private practice and in the Public Defender's Office.

Judge Messina obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and an M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Avila College. Judge Messina served as a volunteer in the Peace Corp in Northern Nigeria in 1966-1968. She also is an adjunct instructor in the MBA program at Avila University.