Judge Draper has been an associate circuit judge since April 2004. Her judicial assignments since the last retention election have included associate civil, small claims, as well as equity and municipal certifications/trials de novo. Judge Draper received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her law degree from Howard University. She is a member of the Mound City Bar Association, Missouri Asian American Bar Association, National Bar Association, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and Women Lawyers’ Association.
Attorneys were asked to rate each judge on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. More than 300 attorneys responded with respect to Judge Draper. Of the 18 areas surveyed, Judge Draper’s highest scores included treating people equally (3.10) and maintaining proper order and decorum in the courtroom (3.00). The three lowest scores received by Judge Draper include competency in the law (1.83), ruling on dispositive motions (1.97), and understanding rules of procedure and evidence (1.97). The committee believes any rating below 3.00 indicates a need for improvement. Attorneys rated Judge Draper as 3.00 or lower in 16 of 18 categories.
Thirteen (13) jury surveys were returned with responses pertaining to Judge Draper. Juror surveys were answered “yes” or “no” on 10 separate criteria, with “yes” being a positive response and “no” being a negative response. Judge Draper received 10 or more “yes” responses in all categories, with 12 of 13 jurors answering “yes” in 7 of 10 categories.
The committee also reviewed a “Judgment and Order” written by Judge Draper and found the ruling to be concise and consistent with the case law cited therein; however, the formatting of the document was not uniform and the blue book legal citations were not consistent.
Furthermore, a committee member observed Judge Draper in the courtroom on one occasion, at which time Judge Draper maintained proper decorum and order in her courtroom, appeared to be competent in the law, clearly explained court procedure, and promoted public confidence in the courts.
Moreover, Judge Draper requested that the committee consider the Missouri 2009 Annual Judicial Report and 2009 Annual Statistical Report. The 2009 reports are available online at http://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=296. The 2010 reports have not yet been issued as of the date of this recommendation. The 2009 Annual Statistical Report shows that the number of associate civil cases filed in Missouri in fiscal year 2009 (July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009) was 243,192, and the number disposed of during fiscal year 2009 was 248,341, with 66,699 cases pending as of June 30, 2009. The 2009 Annual Statistical Report also shows that, for St. Louis County, the number of associate civil cases filed in fiscal year 2009 was 52,694, and the number disposed of during fiscal year 2009 was 56,033, with 14,598 cases pending as of June 30, 2009. Of the associate civil cases disposed of during fiscal year 2009, St. Louis County disposed of 22.6 percent. There were 13 associate circuit court divisions in St. Louis County in 2009. The Annual Statistical Report does not specify the number of cases filed, disposed of, or pending for each individual associate circuit court division.
While Judge Draper’s attorney survey results are low, the attorney surveys do not represent the entire evaluation process, and all the other items discussed above were also considered.