Selection of judges in the Supreme Court, the Missouri Court of Appeals and five of the state's urban trial courts is governed by the merit-based nonpartisan court plan. In the remaining 110 counties, voters continue to choose trial judges through partisan elections. When an interim vacancy occurs in one of these counties, the governor appoints a judge to serve until the next election. For more information about this application process, click here: interim judicial vacancies in trial courts.
The process of filing vacancies under the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan requires the governor to select judges from a panel of three qualified applicants selected by a nonpartisan commission of citizens, lawyers and a judge. Voters then decide periodically whether to retain nonpartisan judges. For vacancies on the Supreme Court of Missouri and Missouri Court of Appeals, the nonpartisan commission is called the Appellate Judicial Commission. The six circuit courts subject to the nonpartisan plan have their own circuit judicial commissions.
Current Nonpartisan Judicial Vacancies
- Sixth Judicial Circuit (Platte County):
- The commission on Dec. 4 nominated Kansas City attorneys W. Ann Hansbrough and Christie Jess, along with Weston attorney Abe "Quint" Shafer V to fill the Van Amburg associate circuit judge vacancy in Platte County. The demographic, interviewee and meeting information may be found here.
- The governor on Nov. 19 appointed Platte County associate circuit judge Thomas C. Fincham, to fill the circuit judge vacancy in the sixth circuit created by the retirement of The Honorable Owens Lee Hull Jr.
- The commission announced it is seeking applications for the Van Amburg associate circuit judge vacancy in Platte County.
- On November 2 the sixth circuit elected Platte City attorney Robert Harold Shaw to the sixth circuit judicial commission as the lawyer-member to fill the impending vacancy on the commission.
- Seventh Judicial Circuit (Clay County):
- For the lawyer-member vacancy on the 7th circuit judicial commission, a special election will be held Jan. 2 through 25, 2014. Attorneys in that circuit can find the election portal here.
- 16th Judicial Circuit (Jackson County):
- The governor on Nov. 27 appointed Jackson County Deputy Probate Commissioner S. Margene Burnett to fill the Mesle circuit judge vacancy in Jackson County.
- The commission on Nov. 26 announced it is seeking applications to fill the circuit judge vacancy in Jackson County created by the retirement of Judge Peggy Stevens McGraw.
- The commission on Nov. 19 nominated Jackson County prosecutor's office chief trial attorneys Michael J. Hunt and Jalilah Otto, and solo practitioner Patricia Scaglia for the associate circuit judge vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Kenneth R. Garrett III to circuit judge. The demographic, interviewee and meeting information for the vacancy can be found here.
- The governor on Nov. 5 appointed Jackson County assistant prosecuting attorney Jeffrey C. Keal, to fill the Scoville associate circuit judge vacancy in Jackson County.
- 21st Judicial Circuit (St. Louis County):
- The commission on Dec. 4 announced the demographic, interviewee and meeting information regarding the associate circuit judge vacancy in St. Louis County created by the retirement of Judge Brenda Stith Loftin.
- The governor on Dec. 4 appointed Christine A. Bertelson of Webster Groves to fill the non-lawyer vacancy on the 21st Circuit judicial commission.
- 22nd Judicial Circuit (St. Louis city):
- There currently are no judicial vacancies in the 22nd circuit.
- 31st Judicial Circuit (Greene County):
- For the lawyer-member vacancy on the 31st circuit judicial commission, a run-off election will be held Nov. 12 through Dec. 7. Attorneys in that circuit can find the election portal here.
- The governor on Nov. 21 appointed St. Louis attorney Philip M. Hess to fill the vacancy on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District created by the retirement of Judge Kathianne Knaup Crane.
- The southern district on November 2 elected Springfield attorney Donald E. Woody as the lawyer-member to fill the impending vacancy on the appellate circuit commission.
Supreme Court of Missouri
- There currently are no judicial vacancies on the Supreme Court of Missouri.