John Essner 21st Judicial Circuit (St. Louis County)


The 21st Judicial Circuit Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee recommends that Associate Circuit Judge John R. Essner BE RETAINED.


Associate Circuit Judge

Evaluation Year



Associate Circuit Judge Essner was appointed to the bench in July of 1999. Prior to that, Judge Essner served for more than 20 years as an attorney with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri responsible for directing the volunteer lawyers’ program.

Judge Essner is a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Women’s Lawyers Association, The Missouri Bar, and the National Counsel of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Judge Essner has also donated his time to the local moot court competitions. Judge Essner resides in St. Louis County with his wife and two children.


Judge Essner received strong scores in all areas by attorneys who responded to the survey questions. Attorneys were asked to rank the judges on a scale from 1 (not at all) to 5 (completely) on various evaluation categories of the 16 criteria surveyed. The attorneys rated Judge Essner as 4.50 or higher in 11 of the 16 categories. Judge Essner’s received extremely high marks in appropriate demeanor on the bench, preparation for hearing trials, and maintaining proper order and decorum in the courtroom (4.65, 4.63 and 4.62, respectively).

The committee reviewed Findings and Judgment authored by Judge Essner in a divorce proceeding. The judgment was concise, well written, and consistent with the applicable law and statutory authority governing the case. As Judge Essner sits in Family Court, there were no juror surveys for the committee to consider.