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Missouri Bar Association recommends voters expel St. Louis County judge

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 | 7:40 p.m. CDT; updated 11:01 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 2, 2010

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated which judges were up for retention election this year. Judge Zel M. Fischer, not Patricia Breckenridge, is up for retention on the Missouri Supreme Court. Breckenridge was eligible for retention in the election cycle two years ago.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri Bar Association is recommending voters remove a St. Louis County judge from office in the November election.

Judge Judy Draper, 21st Judicial Circuit, was the only judge out of 62 who didn't receive a positive review from the Missouri Judicial Performance Evaluation'scommittee of lawyers and jurors.

Attorneys surveyed by the Missouri Bar Association gave Draper low rankings in "competency in the law" and "understanding rules of procedure and evidence."

Every few years, voters decide whether to retain judges who were nominated by a judicial committee and selected by the governor. These judges face a retention election every four, six or 12 years, depending on whether they are associate circuit judges, circuit judges or appellate court judges, respectively.

*In Boone County, voters can cast ballots in the retention election of Supreme Court Judge Zel M. Fischer; and the five judges on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District. Those judges are Alok Ahuja, Victor C. Howard, Karen King Mitchell, Mark D. Pfeiffer and James E. Welsh.

Jack Wax, media relations director for the Missouri Bar Association, said the reviews provide voters with information about judges without the spin included in ad campaigns.

The evaluations include results from surveys with lawyers and jurors, as well as opinions written by each judge, and are available to the public at www.mobar.org.


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