Missouri has more than 400 judges and commissioners. The Supreme Court of Missouri is made up of seven judges. The Court of Appeals is divided into three geographic districts with a total of 32 judges. The state’s trial courts include more than 140 circuit judges, nearly 200 associate circuit judges and 30+ commissioners. Learn about the nonpartisan judges up for retention this year and in past election years.
Missouri’s counties and the City of St. Louis are organized into 45 judicial circuits. There is at least one courthouse in all 114 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis. The circuit court is typically in the county seat (or the city of St. Louis) and may be in additional locations in the county. Identify your circuit court and learn about the nonpartisan judges up for retention this election year where you live.
Judges who serve under Missouri’s Non-Partisan Court Plan run in retention elections after their first 12 months on the bench and at the end of each term. A statewide committee reviews the performance of nonpartisan judges up for retention. Learn about the review process, criteria of the judicial performance reviews and members of the review committee.
The Missouri Plan, otherwise known as Missouri’s Non-Partisan Court Plan, is a model for the nation. It continues to reduce the role of politics and money in the selection and election of judges. It also helps ensure the integrity of the judiciary by shielding candidates from undue pressure.
In the City of St. Louis, and in St. Louis, Jackson, Clay, Platte and Greene Counties, judges apply for their positions on the bench and are selected on the basis of merit. This process is transparent to the public.
In the Missouri judicial selection process, judges who serve under this plan have been nominated by a judicial commission and then selected by the governor. After their first 12 months on the bench, nonpartisan judges must go before the voters in a retention election. Voters are asked whether each of these judges should be retained. To be retained, each judge must receive a majority vote. If a judge does not receive a majority of votes, his or her judicial seat will become vacant at the end of its present term. The judicial commission will then nominate three candidates for the position and the governor will appoint one to fill the vacancy. The terms for appellate court judges are 12 years. Among trial judges, circuit judges serve six-year terms, while associate circuit judges serve four-year terms.
©2017 Show Me Courts
Paid for by the Missouri Bar, Sebrina Barrett, Executive Director PO Box 119 Jefferson City, MO 65102