Voters in the City of St. Louis should vote NO on the retention of Associate Circuit Judge Calea Stovall-Reid.
We constantly hear police, from Chief Sam Dotson on down, complain how frustrating and demoralizing it is to see their untiring work to capture and put together cases against violent criminals go largely to waste when a judge lets them off with minimal bonds. Poof! Back on the street. These include criminals who are charged with brutally assaulting police officers. The judge they complain about the most is Stovall-Reid.
When police in my neighborhood organized neighbors to appear in court for a bond hearing to make the court aware of the impact release would have on the neighborhood, Stovall-Reid got wind of it and moved the bond hearing up so that it was over before the neighbors arrived. She has no respect for victims and law abiding citizens.
Don’t be fooled by the Your Missouri Judges reviews by a so-called independent panel. It is really just a smokescreen whose purpose is to promote the judges. The 21 panel members rate each judge basically on a pass/fail basis, and the judge’s score is the percentage of the 21 who graded “Pass.” Their legalese term for “pass” is “substantially meets overall judicial performance standards.” The judge doesn’t even have to meet all performance standards or meet them all the time, just “substantially.” Well, big surprise, Stovall-Reid’s rating for this low-bar test was 100%. In fact, every judge on the City ballot from the supreme court down to Stovall-Reid scored 100%. (One judge in St. Louis County failed this test, and I’d love to know the back story.)
Missouri’s nonpartisan court plan is broken. Since it was adopted in the 1940s, the number of St. Louis area judges rejected by voters is zero. Not one! Too many people vote yes automatically because they wouldn’t want to fire anybody.
St. Louis can and should make history this year by making Stovall-Reid the first to be rejected.