Bar Panel Assails Associate Judge; It Recommends for Second Time That County Associate Judge Dale W. Hood Not Be Retained

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ST. LOUIS - For a second time, St. Louis County Associate Judge Dale W. Hood faces a recommendation by fellow lawyers that he be ousted by voters.

On Wednesday, the Missouri Bar's judicial-review committees released their evaluations of all 51 judges who face retention in the Nov. 6 election through the state's Non-Partisan Court Plan. In that system, the governor appoints appellate judges and circuit judges in St. Louis city and county, the Kansas City area and Springfield.

They face the voters periodically to keep their jobs. Voters elsewhere in Missouri choose judges through traditional partisan elections.

Hood was the only judge this year to receive a recommendation that he "not be retained." He had a similar bad review in 2008 but was spared by the 54 percent of voters who elected to retain him, about 10 percent lower than what his fellow associate judges received.

Hood was an assistant county prosecutor before former governor Matt Blunt appointed him to the bench in 2005.

He could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Since Missouri created its system of judicial appointments in 1940, only two judges, both from the Kansas City area, have been removed by voters. The Missouri Bar and local committees conduct surveys of lawyers, jurors and judges under Supreme Court guidelines to make their recommendations.

The appointment system faces a challenge of its own Nov. 6, when voters statewide will consider a constitutional amendment to give the governor more influence in picking judges for the Supreme Court and courts of appeals. …