Missouri chief justice wants change to state judge ratings

Legal News Line Jan. 10, 2007, 9:08am

Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Wolff.

JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri must review its judicial evaluation system and the way it assesses judges' workloads, the chief justice of Missouri's Supreme Court told state lawmakers today. Justice Michael A. Wolff told legislators that the state's courts must "remedy the lack of information about judges" amongst ordinary Missourians. He proposed creating an evaluation group of non-lawyers and lawyers to conduct on-going evaluations of judges that is "independent and non-partisan" and produces results "widely available to the voting public." Wolf also stressed the need to gauge a realistic picture of the judicial needs of all Missouri districts. To that end the Missouri Bar has commissioned the National Center for State Courts to conduct a study this spring on which Missouri judges face workloads greater than indicated by mere caseload to determine where new judges might be needed. "We should wait for the results of this study before making any long-term changes in allocation or numbers of judges," Wolff cautioned the legislature.

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