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The Missouri Bar Board of Governors appointed Phyllis Battle, Dr. Marie Peoples, and Sarah Devlin and reappointed Katharyn Davis and Katherine Thompson to the Judicial Performance Review Committee during its May 13 meeting.

The independent, 21-member Judicial Performance Review Committee evaluates the performances of appellate and trial judges appointed under the constitutional nonpartisan selection process, also known as The Missouri Plan, using judicial performance review standards. The committee was established pursuant to Supreme Court of Missouri Rules 10.50 through 10.55. It contains nine members of The Missouri Bar, nine Missouri residents who are not bar members, and one retired judge from each district of the Missouri Court of Appeals. The Missouri Bar Board of Governors appoints both the lawyer and non-lawyer members. The Supreme Court of Missouri appoints the three seats held by retired judges. 

Battle is a senior industrial engineer at Honeywell FM&T in Kansas City and a graduate from North Carolina State University. Battle’s term will begin July 1.

“I am honored to be appointed to the Judicial Performance Review Committee and to represent the people of Missouri,” Battle said. “I will work diligently to ensure that our judges are upholding the principles on which our judicial system is built.”  

Katharyn Davis is a lawyer at Davis & Travaglini, LLC, and has served on several committees, including as chair of the Practice and Procedure Division. She is a graduate of Washington University School of Law and joined The Missouri Bar in 1985.

Davis said serving on the Judicial Performance Review Committee is a “great honor.”

“I look forward to working with lawyers and members of the community from across Missouri to provide this important service,” Davis said. “The Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan is a sound way to pick judges, and the Judicial Performance Review Committee is just one way to support that plan.”

Devlin works as associate general counsel for the Missouri State Board of Nursing and is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law. She joined The Missouri Bar in 2009 and has served on multiple bar committees and graduated from Leadership Academy. Devlin’s term on the committee will start July 1.

“With practice experience in nearly half of Missouri’s judicial circuits, I am a firm believer in the ability of our Non-Partisan Court Plan to seat better judges and create more equal justice,” Devlin said. “I am honored to fulfill this role helping Missourians make more informed decisions by providing them insight on the performance of their judges.”

A graduate of Walden University, Peoples has held several managerial roles and is currently the city manager of Webster Groves. Her term on the Judicial Performance Review Committee will begin July 1.

“The Judicial Performance Review Committee is a critical component of the justice system,” Peoples said. “Few things are as tantamount as ensuring that all Missourians receive fair and impartial administration of justice. My career began with Missouri’s justice system, and I am honored to contribute to such an important committee.” 

A graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law, Thompson is the legal/regulatory counsel for City Utilities of Springfield and joined The Missouri Bar in 2012.

“I am honored to continue serving on the Judicial Performance Review Committee,” Thompson said. “The committee plays an important role in evaluating feedback from the community, as well as judges, to facilitate a fair review process that voters can rely on. We continuously strive to improve this process and I look forward to supporting those efforts in my next term.”

Battle, Devlin, Davis, Peoples, and Thompson will end their terms May 31, 2028.

All members of The Missouri Bar are encouraged to join committee and section activities. Lawyers can choose from more than 40 open enrollment committees and sections that each specialize in a substantive area of law, practice setting, or community. To join a committee or section, visit MoBar.org/Committees-Sections.

The Missouri Bar Board of Governors appointed James Scollione to the Judicial Performance Review Committee during its March 4, 2022, meeting. 

The independent, 21-member Judicial Performance Review Committee evaluates the performances of appellate and trial judges appointed under the constitutional nonpartisan selection process, also known as The Missouri Plan, using judicial performance review standards. The committee was established pursuant to Supreme Court of Missouri Rules 10.50 through 10.55. It contains nine members of The Missouri Bar, nine Missouri residents who are not bar members, and one retired judge from each district of the Missouri Court of Appeals. The Missouri Bar Board of Governors appoints both the lawyer and non-lawyer members. The Supreme Court of Missouri appoints the three seats held by retired judges. 

Scollione, of Springfield, will serve in the general public seat for the 31st Judicial Circuit which serves Greene County. A graduate of Robert Morris University and Youngstown State University, Scollione is a visiting assistant professor of criminology and instructor at the Law Enforcement Academy at Drury University. 

“I am looking forward to gaining an in-depth knowledge and a deeper appreciation of the Missouri judiciary,” Scollione said. “I am also looking forward to learning from diverse worldviews and experiences of everyone involved with the performance review process. I hope to incorporate relevant research and evidence-based practices regarding judicial decision-making while on the committee.” 

Scollione’s term will expire June 30, 2024. 

Click here to learn how to apply for Missouri Bar appointment vacancies.  

Voters urged to learn more about their judges before they vote Nov. 3

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Judicial Performance Review Committee today provided Missouri voters with their performance findings for 53 nonpartisan judges who will be up for retention in the Nov. 3, 2020, general election. All Missouri voters will have at least two judges in retention elections appear on their ballot this November.

“We want to make sure the people of Missouri have good judges who are fair, impartial and skilled,” said Dale Doerhoff, chair of the statewide committee. “Our independent committee provides voters with extensive information about the performance of our judges up for retention to help them make informed decisions.”

The committee reviewed the performance of 53 judges including one Supreme Court of Missouri judge, four Court of Appeals judges, 26 circuit court judges and 22 associate circuit court judges in circuits where the judges are appointed under the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan. The committee found all 53 judges substantially meet overall judicial performance standards.

The complete performance review information of each judge is available online at YourMissouriJudges.org. For quick reference, landing pages for voters in nonpartisan circuits are provided:

Doerhoff said visitors to the website “will see the lawyer surveys, juror surveys of trial judges, and written opinions from the judges the committee used in casting their votes.”

The committee considers a variety of information about each judge, including lawyers’ ratings of judges, jurors’ ratings of some trial judges and written opinions from judges.

Jurors were asked a series of questions about the judge’s courtroom conduct. The lawyers’ survey focused on key traits that judges need to render justice effectively and fairly. Circuit and associate circuit judges were rated in areas including a wide range of observable skills and traits, such as treating people fairly, competency in the law and writing clear opinions. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges were rated on a different set of criteria as they decide cases that are appealed because of possible legal errors, either procedural or through misinterpretations of the law. These judges were rated on areas such as whether their opinions were clearly written, whether they adequately explained the basis of the court’s decision and whether they issued opinions in a timely manner. For all judges, lawyers’ surveys were converted into a numerical score between 1 and 5, with 1 being the poorest and 5 being the best.

“These extensive reviews help Missouri voters determine whether or not the judges up for retention are meeting the expectations of the public and lawyers,” said Doerhoff.

Doerhoff said the committee’s work is important because it helps make sure the people of Missouri have good judges who substantially meet overall judicial performance standards. He added that the performance reviews have had a positive impact on the number of people who vote in retention elections.

“The committee’s work to educate voters about the performance of our judges has led to improved voter participation in judicial retention elections since 2008 because when voters feel more informed, they are more likely to vote,” said Doerhoff.

Missouri uses a constitutional merit system known as the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan to select its appellate judges and trial-level judges in the City of St. Louis and Clay, Greene, Jackson, Platte and St. Louis counties. In other parts of the state, trial-level judges seek election in partisan races.

Before becoming a judge, all nonpartisan judges are screened by a nominating commission whose members include lawyers, non-lawyers and a judge. The commission selects the three most qualified candidates and forwards their names to the governor, who chooses one candidate to fill the position. After their first year on the bench and again at the end of each term, nonpartisan judges must run in retention elections. In retention elections the ballot reads: “Shall Judge X be retained?” To be retained, each merit-selected judge must receive a simple majority.

The Missouri Bar is tasked with sharing the independent committee’s findings with the public. The Missouri Bar funds the review process, which was created by a Supreme Court of Missouri rule in 2008. Doerhoff emphasized that the committee operates independently of the bar and judiciary. He added that Missouri’s performance review system was developed and is continually updated based on model rules and best practices from the American Bar Association and the more than 20 judicial performance review systems across the nation.

Missouri Judicial Performance Review findings available to the public at YourMissouriJudges.org

Citizens urged to learn more about their judges before they vote Nov. 6

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Judicial Performance Review Committee has provided Missouri voters with their performance findings for 59 nonpartisan judges who will be up for retention in the Nov. 6, 2018, general election. All Missouri voters will have at least three judges appear in retention elections on their ballot this November.

“We want to make sure the people of Missouri have good judges who are fair, impartial and skilled,” said Dale Doerhoff, chair of the statewide committee. “Our independent committee provides voters with extensive, objective information about the performance of our judges up for retention to help them make informed decisions about our judges.”

The committee reviewed the performance of 59 judges including two Supreme Court of Missouri judges, four Court of Appeals judges, 31 circuit court judges and 22 associate circuit court judges in circuits where the judges are appointed under the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan. Of the 59 judges, a majority of the committee voted one judge does not substantially meet overall judicial performance standards.

The complete performance review information of each judge is available online at YourMissouriJudges.org. For quick reference, landing pages for voters in nonpartisan circuits are provided:

Doerhoff said visitors to the website “will see the lawyer surveys, juror surveys of trial judges, and written opinions from the judges the committee used in casting their votes.”

Brochures with the findings will be available at libraries, courthouses and senior centers across the state. Missouri voters may also request one be mailed to them for free by calling 573-635-4128.

The committee considers a variety of information about each judge, including lawyers’ ratings of judges, jurors’ ratings of some trial judges and written opinions from judges.

Jurors were asked a series of 10 questions about the judge’s courtroom conduct. For instance: Did the judge clearly explain the legal issues of the case? Did the judge appear to be free from bias? Did the judge appear to be well-prepared for the case?

The lawyers’ survey focused on key traits that judges need to render justice effectively and fairly. Circuit and associate circuit judges were rated in 19 areas, including a wide range of observable skills and traits, such as treating people fairly, competency in the law and writing clear opinions.

Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges were rated on a different set of criteria as they decide cases that are appealed because of possible legal errors, either procedural or through misinterpretations of the law. These judges were rated on areas such as whether their opinions were clearly written, whether they adequately explained the basis of the court’s decision and whether they issued opinions in a timely manner.

For all judges, lawyers’ surveys were converted into a numerical score between 1 and 5, with 1 being the poorest and 5 being the best.

“These extensive reviews help Missouri voters determine whether or not the judges up for retention are meeting the expectations of the public and lawyers,” said Doerhoff.

Doerhoff said the committee’s work is important because it helps make sure the people of Missouri have good judges who substantially meet overall judicial performance standards. He added that the performance reviews have had a positive impact on the number of people who vote in retention elections.

“The committee’s work to educate voters about the performance of our judges has led to increased voter participation in judicial retention elections since 2008 because when voters feel more informed, they are more likely to vote.”

Missouri uses a constitutional merit system known as the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan to select its appellate judges and trial-level judges in the City of St. Louis and Clay, Greene, Jackson, Platte and St. Louis counties. In other parts of the state, trial-level judges seek election in partisan races.

Before becoming a judge, all nonpartisan judges are screened by a nominating commission whose members include lawyers, non-lawyers and a judge. The commission selects the three best candidates and forwards their names to the governor, who chooses one candidate to fill the position. After their first year on the bench and again at the end of each term, nonpartisan judges must run in retention elections. In retention elections the ballot reads: “Shall Judge X be retained?” To be retained, each merit-selected judge must receive a simple majority.

The Missouri Bar is tasked with sharing the independent committee’s findings with the public. The Missouri Bar funds the review process, which was created by a Supreme Court of Missouri rule in 2008 and updated in 2016. The Missouri performance review system was developed and is continually updated based on model rules and best practices from the American Bar Association and the more than 20 judicial performance review systems across the nation.

Missouri Judicial Performance Review findings available to the public at www.YourMissouriJudges.org

Citizens urged to learn more about their judges before they vote Nov. 8

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Judicial Performance Review Committee today provided Missouri voters with their performance findings for 49 nonpartisan judges who will be up for retention in the Nov. 8, 2016, general election. All Missouri voters will have at least one judicial retention election appear on their ballot this November.

“The Judicial Performance Review Committee is an independent committee that collects and reviews extensive information about the performance of judges up for retention to provide Missouri voters objective information to make sure we have good judges who are fair, impartial and skilled,” said Dale Doerhoff, chair of the 21-member statewide committee.

The committee reviewed the performance of 49 judges including one Supreme Court judge, two court of appeals judges, 27 circuit court judges and 19 associate circuit court judges in circuits where the judges are appointed under the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan. Of the 49 judges, the committee voted only one judge does not substantially meet overall judicial performance standards.

The complete performance review information of each judge is available online at www.YourMissouriJudges.org. For quick reference, landing pages for voters in nonpartisan circuits are provided:

Doerhoff said visitors to the website “will see the same lawyer surveys, juror surveys of trial judges, and written opinions from the judges the committee used in casting their votes.”

Brochures with the findings will be available at libraries, courthouses and senior centers across the state. Missouri voters may also request a brochure be mailed to them for free by calling 1(800)829-4128.

The committee considers a variety of information about each judge, including lawyers’ ratings of judges, jurors’ ratings of some trial judges and written opinions from judges.

Jurors were asked a series of 10 questions about the judge’s courtroom conduct. For instance: Did the judge clearly explain the legal issues of the case? Did the judge appear to be free from bias or prejudice? Did the judge appear to be well-prepared for the case?

The lawyers’ survey focused on key traits that judges need to render justice effectively and fairly. Circuit and associate circuit judges were rated in 19 areas, including a wide range of observable skills and traits, such as treating people fairly, competency in the law and writing clear opinions.

Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges were rated on a different set of criteria as they decide cases that are appealed because of possible legal errors, either procedural or through misinterpretations of the law. These judges were rated on areas such as whether their opinions were clearly written, whether they adequately explained the basis of the court’s decision and whether they issued opinions in a timely manner.

For all judges, lawyers’ surveys were converted into a numerical score between 1 and 5, with 1 being the poorest and 5 being the best.

“These extensive evaluations help Missouri voters determine whether or not the judges up for retention are meeting the expectations of lawyers and the public,” said Doerhoff.

Doerhoff said the committee’s work is important because it helps ensure the people of Missouri have good judges who substantially meet overall judicial performance standards. He added that the performance reviews have had a positive impact on the number of people who vote in retention elections.

“The committee’s work to educate voters about the performance of our judges has led to increased voter participation in judicial retention elections since 2008 because when voters feel more informed, they are more likely to vote.”

Missouri uses a merit system known as the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan to select its appellate judges and trial-level judges in the City of St. Louis City and St. Louis, Jackson, Clay, Platte and Greene counties. In other parts of the state, trial-level judges seek election in partisan races.

Before becoming a judge, all nonpartisan judges are screened by a nominating commission whose members include lawyers, non-lawyers and a judge. The commission selects the three best candidates and forwards their names to the governor, who chooses one candidate to fill the position. After their first year on the bench and again at the end of each term, non-partisan judges must run in retention elections. In retention elections the ballot reads:  “Shall Judge X be retained?” To be retained, each merit-selected judge must receive a simple majority.

The Missouri Bar is tasked with sharing the independent committee’s findings with the public. The Missouri Bar funds the review process, which was created by a Supreme Court of Missouri rule in 2008 and updated in 2016. The Missouri performance review system was developed and is continually updated based on model rules and best practices from the American Bar Association and the more than 20 judicial performance review systems across the nation.

Missouri Judicial Performance Review Committee to announce performance findings for judges on November ballot

Committee chair will share results for all Non-Partisan Court Plan Judges up for retention at press conference in Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Judicial Performance Review Committee, composed of non-lawyers, lawyers and retired judges, has reviewed the performance of 49 judges who will be standing in retention elections in November. The committee’s chair, Dale Doerhoff, will announce the committee’s findings on whether or not each judge substantially overall meets judicial performance standards in a press conference at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29, in Jefferson City at the Missouri Bar Center located at 326 Monroe Street. Media may participate via conference call at 1(866)225-4944, entering 2251# as the conference ID.

The state chair will be joined by Missouri Bar officers and, together, they will discuss how the reviews were conducted, why this extensive review process was adopted and how the information is available to the public to assist them in casting informed ballots in the Nov. 8 election. All Missouri voters will have at least one judicial retention election appear on their ballot this November. The Missouri Bar is tasked with sharing the independent committee’s findings with the public. In addition to committee’s findings, the results of the surveys of lawyers’ ratings of each judge and jurors’ ratings of trial judges will be made available online at www.YourMissouriJudges.org that same day.

Judicial Performance Review Announcement

When:    1:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29

Where:   Missouri Bar Center

326 Monroe St. Jefferson City, MO 65101

Contact: Farrah Fite, Media Relations Director, The Missouri Bar

573-638-2251 or 573-356-9616

With the Nov. 8 general election rapidly approaching, a new group is taking a look into the qualifications of 49 judges who will be seeking retention on the bench under Missouri’s Non-Partisan Court Plan, commonly known as the Missouri Plan.

The new Judicial Performance Review Committee is the result of a June 15 order by the Supreme Court of Missouri revising Rules 10.50 – 10.55. As a result of these revisions, the previous judicial performance evaluation (JPE) program has undergone a significant change in structure and operations in its conversion to a judicial performance review (JPR) mechanism.

The Court’s action results in the replacement of the seven JPE committees around the state – one in each of the six trial circuits covered by the Missouri Plan, plus another committee for appellate judges – in favor of a single,  21-member statewide JPR Committee. Unlike the previous system, which asked the committees to make a recommendation regarding each judge seeking retention, the statewide committee will be tasked with determining if each judge meets overall judicial performance standards. This information will then be shared with the people of Missouri at  YourMissouriJudges.org and through other communications platforms prior to the election.

The Court’s order also requests the addition of a litigant/witness survey to the roster of tools used within the review process. This will not only serve as an additional source of public input regarding the qualifications of these judges, but will also give voters an even better look into the inner workings of a judge’s courtroom. The litigant/witness survey is expected to be implemented in time for the 2018 retention election cycle.

While this represents a major structural and operational shift, the Court’s action will bring Missouri in line with the majority of other states around the nation who conduct similar reviews. This is in keeping with the Missouri program’s ongoing desire to ensure that its judicial review process is consistent with current best practices.

The purpose of the judicial review process is to make sure that the people of Missouri have all of the information they need in order to cast an informed judicial ballot. This is the best possible way to ensure that Missouri continues to benefit from fair, impartial and skilled judges. The Court’s revamping of the review process facilitates this goal by expanding the voices of non-lawyers in the evaluation process, leaving the judging of judges to the voters, and fostering consistency by moving to one statewide review committee.