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Judge Judy Draper not recommended for retention

(St. Louis County Web site)
A judicial review committee has recommended that Judge Judy Draper not be retained.

By Rachel Lippmann / Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio

ST. LOUIS – The committee in charge of reviewing judges in St. Louis County has recommended that voters do not allow associate circuit judge Judy Draper to remain a judge in November.

This is not the first time that Judge Draper has received low marks from the review committee. In 2006, 73 percent of attorneys who participated in a survey recommended that she not be retained. She was, with 60 percent of the vote.

Judge Draper handles her docket of small claims and other civil cases well, said attorney Bruce Hilton, who chairs the committee in charge of reviewing judges in the 21st Circuit, which is St. Louis County. But attorneys gave her consistently low marks on her knowledge of the law.

"The consensus, at least on my committee, was that if this person had a job performance in corporate America, either she would be demoted or she would be discharged," he said.

In a statement, Judge Draper said she disappointed by the committee's recommendation, and vowed to "continue to serve with passion and fairness as I strive to uphold the integrity and independence of the Judiciary."

Committees infrequently recommend a judge be removed, and just two judges have been removed from office since the state adopted its method of picking judges in the Springfield, Kansas City, and St. Louis areas in 1940. That track record, said Thomas Glick, the president of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, helps defend the selection process against critics who call it undemocratic and controlled by lawyers.

"To the extent that the lawyers have spoken and said what their opinion is, if the voters override that, that proves that the system is more democratic than the critics say that it is," he said.

Skip Walther, the president of the Missouri Bar, acknowledged that few pay attention to the rankings.

"It's far easier to get energized about a vote for the president of the United States than it is for a trial judge or an associate circuit judge in some metropolitan courtroom in St. Louis or Kansas City or Springfield," Walther said.

-- More information is available on the Missouri Bar website at: http://www.mobar.org/data/judges10/index.htm


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