Judge Norris was appointed associate circuit judge in the 7th Judicial Circuit in August 2004. He had previously served as the Clay County prosecutor. He had been a municipal prosecutor for the City of Liberty and the City of Pleasant Valley. He has served as a municipal judge for the City of Pleasant Valley and for the City of North Kansas City. He had acted previously as Clay County assistant prosecutor. He had been employed by the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office. He is a former Clay County deputy sheriff. He is a former officer of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and served in the United States Air Force.
Judge Norris received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from William Jewell College and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is involved with the Disabled American Veterans Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Association, and the American Legion.
Attorneys who responded to survey questions rated Judge Norris on a scale of 1-5, with 1 representing “not at all” and 5 representing “completely.” Judge Norris received his high scores for maintaining and requiring proper order and decorum in the courtroom (4.62); treating people equally regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, economic status or any other factor (4.49); understanding the rules of procedure in evidence (4.46); and allowing parties latitude to present their arguments (4.45). Judge Norris’ lower scores were for basing decisions on evidence and arguments (4.42); weighing all evidence fairly and impartially before rendering a decision (4.42); clearly explaining all oral decisions (4.39); demonstrating appropriate demeanor on the bench (4.38); and competency in the law (4.37).
The committee did not receive any survey responses submitted by jurors who had participated in jury trials before Judge Norris. It is the committee’s understanding that Judge Norris does not typically preside over jury trials, as a vast majority of his work is conducted in cases where he is the decider of the issues presented. The committee did not receive any public comments on Judge Norris, nor did the committee receive any written decisions or opinions authored by Judge Norris.
The committee did observe Judge Norris as he conducted public hearings. The observations of Judge Norris by the committee members were taken into account in the making of the recommendation set out below.