Michael F Stelzer 22nd Judicial Circuit (St. Louis City)

Recommendations

The 22nd Circuit Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee recommends that Judge Michael F. Stelzer BE RETAINED.

Position

Associate Circuit Judge

Evaluation Year

2010

Background

Judge Stelzer was appointed to the 22nd Judicial Circuit as associate circuit judge in 2004. He graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in 1986. He then worked for the U.S. Treasury as a federal bank examiner for three years before going to law school. He graduated cum laude from St. Louis University School of Law in 1992. After graduation, he clerked for the Hon. Carl Gaertner at the Missouri Court of Appeals-Eastern District and was a trial attorney for the City of St. Louis in the City Counselor’s Office until his appointment to the bench. He also served as general counsel to the Board of Police Commissioners and conducted legal education classes for the recruits and officers. He is involved in St. Gabriel Parish and Gene Slay’s Boys’ Club of St. Louis. Since his appointment to the bench, Judge Stelzer has handled civil, criminal and family court dockets and has been on the budget, drug court and public education committees.

Discussion

The majority of jurors who responded to the juror survey indicated that Judge Stelzer: (1) treated people equally regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, economic status and other factors; (2) appeared to be free from bias or prejudice; (3) acted in a dignified manner; (4) acted with patience; (5) appeared to be well-prepared for the case; (6) clearly explained court procedure; (7) clearly explained the legal issues of the case; (8) maintained control over the courtroom; (9) promoted public confidence in the courts; and (10) clearly explained the responsibilities of the jury. Judge Stelzer received the most consistent positive responses in categories 5, 8 & 10. Juror comments indicated that jurors were “very impressed” with Judge Stelzer.

The majority of attorneys who responded to survey questions rated Judge Stelzer as above average in (1) treating people equally regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, economic status or any other factor, (2) displaying fairness and impartiality toward each side of the case, (3) not being affected by partisan considerations (4) being prepared for hearings and trials, (5) allowing parties the latitude to present their arguments, (6) basing decisions on evidence and arguments, (7) giving reasons for his rulings, (8) demonstrating the appropriate demeanor on the bench, (9) maintaining and requiring proper order and decorum in the courtroom, (10) being competent in the law, (11) having rulings on dispositive motions which state reasons and consistently apply the substantive law, (12) effectively using pretrial procedure to narrow and define the issues, (13) understanding the rules of procedure and evidence, (14) weighing all of the evidence fairly and impartially before rendering a decision, (15) having written opinions and orders which are clear, (16) clearly explaining all oral decisions, (17) effectively managing his docket, and (18) issuing timely opinions/decisions. Attorneys surveyed were asked to rate Judge Stelzer on a scale of one to five, one representing “not at all” and five representing “completely.” Judge Stelzer received his highest scores in categories 4, 7, 9, 17 and 18.

The committee also reviewed three writing samples submitted by Judge Stelzer. His opinion appeared to exceed the minimum standards for legal writing.

Survey Results
Lawyer Survey Results
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Juror Survey Results

Opinion 1
Opinion 2
Opinion 3