This fall, voters will have more than just a president or a governor to pick. They’ll also vote to on which judges to keep. Most of Missouri’s trial judges run under a party name, except for judges in six counties, which take part in the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan. Under the plan, judges are appointed by the governor, and after a year, people vote on whether to keep, or oust, judges.
The review committee voted on whether judges met overall judicial standards of being fair and impartial.
“This program helps make sure voters who cast their votes for or against the retention of judges are based on objective information of each individual judge,” said Dale Doerhoff, who is the committee chair.
The committee meets before every election cycle to evaluate judges up for retention. But this year, a few things were different in the evaluation process.
For the first time, the review committee did not explicitly say whether or not to vote for a judge. Instead, they voted on whether the judge met overall judicial standards of fairness and impartiality. Three retired judges served on the committee this year, as well.
“Our goal is to provide people information because the people are interested in retaining good judges who are fair and impartial, prompt and efficient, and who provide equal justice for all,” Doerhoff said.
The 21- person committee used surveys from lawyers and jurors to evaluate the performance of each judge. Questions ranged from topics of bias to how prepared the judge appeared for the case.
Voters can see the results of the committee’s evaluations at YourMissouriJudges.org.