Missouri, Local Judges Face Retention Elections Tuesday

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Under Missouri's nonpartisan court plan, voters in St. Louis and St. Louis County will decide Tuesday whether 34 judges should be kept in office.

One judge of the Missouri Supreme Court will be on the ballot statewide for a 12-year term. In addition, four judges of the Missouri Court of Appeals will be on the ballot for 12-year terms in St. Louis and 25 counties in eastern Missouri.

Voters in St. Louis will vote "yes" or "no" to keep 13 circuit judges in office for another six years and four associate circuit judges in office for another four years. In St. Louis County, voters will decide the future of eight circuit judges and four associate circuit judges. Judges of the Supreme Court, the courts of appeal and the courts in St. Louis, St. Louis County and the Kansas City area are appointed by the governor from three nominees chosen by judicial nominating commissions of laymen, lawyers and judges. The judges appear on the ballot without party designation or opposition. A simple majority is enough to keep them in office. Outside the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, judges are elected in partisan races. Judges do not campaign for office under the appointment plan adopted in 1940 by voters in the city of St. Louis and Jackson County. St. Louis, Clay and Platte counties came under the plan in the late 1960s. In a court reorganization in 1979, associate circuit judges were added. Following each judge's biography is a percentage of lawyers recommending retention or rejection. The recommendations were in response to a survey sponsored by The Missouri Bar and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. All area judges were recommended for retention. MISSOURI SUPREME COURT RONNIE L. WHITE Appointed by Gov. Mel Carnahan in 1995, White formerly served on the Missouri Court of Appeals in St. Louis. He is a former city counselor and a state representative from St. Louis. White, 43, is a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Missouri at Kansas City Law School. Bar vote: 78 percent yes; 22 percent no. MISSOURI EASTERN DISTRICT APPELLATE COURT KENT E. KAROHL He has been an appeals court judge for nearly 14 years. Karohl, 61, previously served as a municipal judge in Kirkwood. He got undergraduate degrees at Shimer College, Mount Carroll, Ill., and the University of Chicago, where he also got his law degree. Bar vote: 76.7 percent yes; 23.3 percent no. ROBERT G. DOWD JR. He was appointed in 1994. Before joining the appeals court, Dowd was a judge on the St. Louis Circuit Court for nine years. He also is a former St. Louis associate circuit judge. Dowd, 45, got his law degree at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. Bar vote: 90.7 percent yes; 9.3 percent no. MARY RHODES RUSSELL She was a lawyer in private practice in Hannibal, Mo., before she was appointed to the court last year. Russell, 38, has served on the board of governors of Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. She got her law degree at the University of Missouri at Columbia. Bar vote: 84.1 percent yes; 15.9 percent no. WILLIAM H. CRANDALL JR. Before his appointment to the appeals court, Crandall was a circuit judge and magistrate in St. Louis County. He also served as an assistant public defender. Crandall, 57, has been retained once as an appellate judge. He got his degrees at Washington University. Bar vote: 88.9 percent yes; 11.1 percent no. 22ND CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES IN ST. LOUIS JOAN M. BURGER Burger was appointed last year and is facing her first retention vote. Burger, 50, is a former president of the Women Lawyers Association of St. Louis. She is a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago and St. Louis University. Bar vote: 86.3 percent yes; 3.7 percent no. EDWARD M. PEEK Peek, 61, has been a circuit judge since 1982. He has been retained twice. Before he became a judge, Peek was an agent of the Internal Revenue Service and an assistant city counselor. …