The Missouri Judicial Performance Evaluation Committees recommends voters should retain all 50 judges who will be up for retention in the Nov. 4 General Election.
“The Judicial Performance Evaluation Committees conducted extensive evaluations providing objective information about the performance of judges up for retention,” said Dale Doerhoff, statewide coordinator. “We urge Missouri voters to use this information to make sure we have good judges who are fair, impartial and skilled.”
The committees, composed of an equal number of lawyers and non-lawyers, evaluated the judges including two Missouri Supreme Court judges, six court of appeals judges, 21 circuit court trial judges and 21 associate circuit court trial judges from circuits across the state. Doerhoff noted three judges were recommended to be retained on appeal.
The performance evaluations of each judge are available online at www.YourMissouriJudges.org. Brochures with the recommendations will be available at libraries, courthouses and senior centers across the state. Missouri voters may also request the brochure be mailed to them for free by calling 800-829-4128.
“The Missouri Bar has the important job of getting these recommendations and information to the voters of Missouri,” said Reuben Shelton, president of the state bar. “In addition to the recommendations, visitors to the website will see the very same information the committees used in forming their recommendations, including evaluations, lawyer surveys, juror surveys of trial judges, court staff surveys and written opinions from the judges.”
Missouri’s judges were evaluated by one of seven different committees. All committee members were appointed by the Board of Governors of The Missouri Bar, which ensured that committee membership was reflective of the diversity of the area.
The committees consider a variety of information about each judge, including lawyers’ ratings of judges, jurors’ ratings of some trial judges and written opinions from judges.
Jurors were asked a series of 10 questions about the judge’s courtroom conduct. For instance: Did the judge clearly explain the legal issues of the case? Did the judge appear to be free from bias or prejudice? Did the judge appear to be well-prepared for the case?
The lawyers’ evaluations focused on key traits that judges need to render justice effectively and fairly. Circuit and associate circuit judges were rated in 19 areas, including a wide range of observable skills and traits, such as treating people fairly, competency in the law and writing clear opinions.