Missouri has more than 400 judges and commissioners. There are seven Supreme Court judges and 32 appellate judges on the three geographic districts of the intermediate court of appeals (the Missouri Court of Appeals). In the trial courts throughout the state, there are more than 140 circuit judges, nearly 200 associate circuit judges and more than 30 commissioners and deputy commissioners.
Missouri has two systems for electing judges: a partisan system and the Non-Partisan Court Plan.
Partisan elected judges run under a party label against challengers, unless no one chooses to oppose them. Voters elect their local judges during regular elections. Elected judges must run for reelection at the end of each term.
On the other hand, judges who serve under the Non-Partisan Court Plan do not run against challengers. Voters are asked to vote for or against them based on the strength of their performance on the bench. This is the group of judges this website addresses.
Because nonpartisan judges don’t run against an opponent, they are prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct from campaigning for retention. Due to this prohibition, and because judges serving under the Missouri Plan are either appellate judges or serving in large metropolitan areas, voters often have difficulty finding information to consider as they prepare to vote on the retention of these judges.
To help voters gain insight as to the performance of judges seeking retention this year, the Judicial Performance Review Committee – a statewide panel of lawyers, non-lawyers and retired judges from parts of the state covered by the Non-Partisan Court Plan – have reviewed the performance of each nonpartisan judge appearing on this year’s general election ballot.
This website, designed and maintained by The Missouri Bar, showcases the performance review for each nonpartisan judge seeking retention this year. For those who are interested in more detail, the numerical results of the lawyer survey and juror survey for each judge are also available on this website, along with copies of the judges’ opinions.
Reviews By Circuit
Identify your circuit court below and learn about the nonpartisan judges up for retention this election year where you live.