JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – A proposal in the Legislature would cut six judge positions in the St. Louis City Circuit Court, a circuit already faced with a massive criminal backlog.
The proposal was fueled by a recent workload study of Missouri judges by the National Center for State Courts, which found that growing areas such as St. Charles and St. Louis counties needed more judges and that St. Louis City had too many. The proposal, which could come up for vote today (Thursday), would add two associate judges in St. Louis County.
St. Louis City Circuit Presiding Judge Thomas C. Grady told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the proposed cuts would devastate the city courthouse. Last year, state courts cleared an average of 81 percent of their felony cases within eight months, a time period the Missouri Supreme Court deemed reasonable, but St. Louis City cleared just 57 percent. The cuts would occur through attrition by not replacing a judge who retires. The city has one vacancy now with Evelyn Baker’s retirement in March and Judge Michael B. Calvin announced he plans on retiring in July.