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ISSUES

EVALUATING JUDICIAL PERFORMANCE

Many states use an independent commission to review judicial performance and in same states receive complaints regarding judicial performance.  The Missouri Law Institute support the creation of a Commission on Judicial Performance that would be tasked with improving the judicial performance of individual judges and justices and thereby improve the judiciary as a whole and promote public accountability of our judicial system.  Although it is imperative to keep our courts free from political rendering of legal decisions our judges are still elected by the people of Missouri and evaluating their performance ensures their accountability to the electorate.

The Missouri Law Institute also support methods of evaluating judicial performance currently being conducted by The Missouri Bar, Judging the Judges which can be reviewed by clicking here.  


NON-PARTISAN SELECTION OF JUDGES

The Missouri Law institute supports methods which will ensure that Missouri Judges are free from political influence, although a number of our circuit courts utilize partisan elections the appellate courts and the circuit courts of City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jackson County, Clay County, Platte County and Green County utilize the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan.  The Missouri Law Institute supports examining methods which protect our legal system from political persuasion and are currently evaluating methods to make the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan better.


ENSURING ACCESS TO TRIAL BY JURY

The access too and right to trial by a jury is paramount to our legal system.  However, we must work to ensure that our access to trial by jury is not hindered by the quality of the jury.  The concept of trial by jury is premised on the belief that a trial by similarly situated members of the community will provide the best access to a rendering of a fair decision.  One of many issues that complicates the selection of a jury is the fee they are paid for their services.  Missouri pays the least of any state for time spent on a jury.  (Read the Missouri Law Institutes Report on Juror Pay)  This is one factor that results in complications for individuals serving on a jury and can detrimentally influence jury development.  The Missouri Law Institute supports methods which will ensure that Missouri courts have access to jurors that represent similarly situated individuals so that we can ensure the rendering of justice in our state.

  
ENCOURAGE THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPECIALIZED COURTS

Development of specialized courts will help ensure that complicated issues are not creating undue burden on our Courts.  Many issues which come before our judges take extensive knowledge and time to be able to ensure a proper outcome.  The creation of specialized courts to handle these issues would relieve pressure on the rest of our court system.  This would assist in expediting both civil and criminal proceedings and enhancing the overall performance of the judiciary.  The Missouri Law Institute is examining issues that could necessitate a specialized court and examining what impact these courts would have on the judiciary.  


REVIEW METHODS TO CREATE EFFICIENCIES IN JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS 

The Missouri Law Institute is looking at the cost of our judicial system both to the state and to participants caused by use of outdated procedures and policy, technology lapses, overuse of discovery and lack of interactive filing system.  These items could create efficiency to ensure the better rendering of justice by our system but could also provide financial benefits to litigants and the state.  Our legal system must continue to examining methods to utilize technology to enhance judicial outcomes.  The Missouri Law Institute is reviewing other states and developing a report on the use of technology in the courts.