Of the 49 non-partisan judges up for retention seats in Tuesday’s general election, St. Louis County Associate Circuit Judge Dale Hood is the only one voters chose not to retain. His term runs through the end of the year.
A nominating commission will interview applicants and choose the top three candidates. The governor appoints Hood’s replacement.
If a replacement isn’t in place by the time Hood’s term ends, Missouri Bar spokeswoman Farrah Fite says the presiding judge in that circuit could reassign cases, request a retired judge or bring in a judge from another circuit to temporarily handle Hood’s cases.
Hood is the third circuit judge to be rejected by voters since the judicial selection system was enacted in 1940. The first was Judge Marion Waltner of Jackson County, who was voted out in 1942. The second was Judge John Hutcherson of Clay County. He was voted out in 1992 after receiving failing reviews from lawyers in a judicial evaluation survey then conducted by the Missouri Bar. Both occurred before the formal Judicial Performance Review process used today was adopted in 2008.
An independent committee released details in September of a performance review about the judges seeking retention. There were 44 of the 49 judges reviewed that received 100% marks in overall performance standards. The committee gave Judge Hood a score of 5%.
Missouri Supreme Court Justice Richard Teitelman was the only statewide judicial retention seat on the November ballot. Fite says 86% of those who voted in the Missouri U.S. Senate race participated in the retention election for Judge Teitelman.
Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District Judges James Dowd and Philip Hess were also on the general election ballot. The rest of the nonpartisan judges on the ballot are from St. Louis City and County, Greene County in southwest Missouri and Jackson, Clay and Platte counties in the Kansas City area.