The November ballot includes a number of judges up for retention. The Missouri Plan, also known as the Non-Partisan Court Plan, allows the voters to have a say in the retention of judges and remains a model for the nation. In the City of St. Louis, and in St. Louis, Jackson, Clay, Platte and Greene counties, judges apply for their positions on the bench and are selected on the basis of merit.
In this judicial process laid out in the state’s constitution, judges who serve under the Missouri Plan have been nominated by a judicial commission and then selected by the governor. After their first 12 months on the bench and the end of each term, nonpartisan judges must go before the voters in a retention election. Voters are asked whether each of these judges should be retained.
To be retained, each judge must receive a majority vote. If a judge does not receive a majority of votes, his or her judicial seat will become vacant at the end of its present term. The judicial commission will then nominate three candidates for the position and the governor will appoint one to fill the vacancy. The terms for appellate court judges are 12 years. Among trial judges, circuit judges serve six-year terms, while associate circuit judges serve four-year terms.
The performance of Missouri judges serving under the Non-Partisan Court Plan are reviewed by a statewide committee.
The Judicial Performance Review Committee votes on whether they believe a judge substantially meets overall judicial performance standards. The Judicial Performance Review Committee analyzes the performance of judges up for retention.
The committee conducts its reviews based on whether a judge substantially overall meets judicial performance standards. Relevant information from a variety of sources is considered as part of the review process. The Committee voted all judges up for retention votes in November substantially met overall judicial performance standards.
Jackson County voters will decide on the retention of the following judges in November:
Supreme Court of Missouri: Judge Patricia Breckenridge
Judge Patricia Breckenridge was appointed to the Supreme Court of Missouri in September 2007. Prior to being appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court, she was appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District in 1990 and served until 2007. Prior to that, she served as an associate circuit judge in Vernon County from 1982-1990.
Judge Breckenridge received both her bachelor’s degree with honors in agricultural economics and juris doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The civic and charitable activities of Judge Breckenridge pertaining to the administration of justice include volunteering with Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance (LEAP); being master of the Elwood Thomas American Inn of Court, providing mentorship and education to young lawyers and law students; and volunteering time as a speaker on civic education to both students and adults throughout Missouri.
Missouri Court of Appeals: Judge Thomas N. Chapman
Judge Thomas N. Chapman began serving on the Missouri Court of Appeals – Western District in September 2018. Prior to this appointment, he spent seven years as a circuit judge for the 43rd Judicial Circuit, and as presiding judge from 2012-2018.
Judge Chapman graduated from Westminster College with a bachelor’s in political science in 1988. He holds his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and LL.M Taxation from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law.
He is currently a member of the Kansas City Missouri Bar Association, the Livingston County Bar Association, The Missouri Bar and Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity/Honor Society. Judge Chapman was recognized by the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce in 2007 with an Outstanding Personal Community Service Award and in 2018 as Chamber Person of the Year.
Jackson County Circuit Court:
Judge Cory Atkins
Judge Cory Atkins was appointed as circuit judge on October 4, 2019. Previously, Judge Atkins served as an associate circuit judge. Judge Atkins earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Rockhurst University and his law degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Judge Atkins is a member of The Missouri Bar, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, and the National Courts and Sciences Institute (faculty).
Judge Patrick W. Campbell
Judge Patrick W. Campbell was appointed as Family Court commissioner for the 16th Judicial Circuit in 2006 and became circuit judge in March 2013. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and administration of justice from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and his law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
He is a member of The Missouri Bar, the Kansas Bar, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association and the Association of Women Lawyers. In addition, he serves as chair of the Jackson County Circuit Court’s Commissioner Retention Committee and serves on both the executive and rules committees.
Judge Kenneth R. Garrett III
Judge Kenneth R. Garrett III was appointed as circuit judge in 2013. He was an associate circuit judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit from 2010 to 2013. Previously, he had served as an assistant prosecuting attorney and an assistant attorney general.
Judge Garrett received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and his Juris Doctor from the same institution. He also holds a master’s degree in public administration from UMKC.
Judge Garrett is a member of The Missouri Bar, The Kansas Bar Association, the Jackson County Bar Association, the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association and the Missouri Association of Associate and Probate Judges.
In addition, Judge Garrett serves on the following committees: Civil Justice Reform; Commission on Racial and Ethic Fairness; Criminal Records and Justice Information Advisory Committee; Missouri Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee; Missouri Court Automation Committee; and the State Judicial Records Committee.
Judge Kevin D. Harrell
Judge Kevin D. Harrell was appointed to the bench in August 2012. He received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He received his law degree from UMKC, as well.
Prior to his service on the bench, Judge Harrell served as the chief deputy prosecuting attorney for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office. Since his last retention election, he has served as a criminal administrative judge.
Judge Harrell is a member of the Jackson County Bar Association and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. He has also served as a mock trial judge for UMKC.
Judge John M. Torrence
Judge John M. Torrence was appointed to the bench in August 2001 as a circuit judge. He served as presiding judge of the Jackson County Circuit Court in 2017 and 2018.
Judge Torrence earned his bachelor’s degree in history cum laude at Saint Louis University and his Juris Doctor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a member of The Missouri Bar, the Missouri Judicial Conference and a board member for CASA of Jackson County.
Judge Jeffrey C. Keal
Judge Jeffrey C. Keal was appointed as associate circuit judge on November 5, 2013. Prior to his appointment, Judge Keal was with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office. He joined the prosecutor’s office in 1991, and during his 22-year tenure there, he handled white collar and property crimes.
He obtained his J.D. degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 1986 and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from UMKC in 1983. He is a member of The Missouri Bar, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Association for Women Lawyers and the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association.
Judge Janette K. Rodecap
Judge Janette K. Rodecap was appointed as associate circuit judge in May 2014. She previously served as a trial team leader in the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Judge Rodecap graduated from Northwestern University summa cum laude in 1997 with a B.A. degree in European history and obtained her J.D. with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2001.
Judge Rodecap is a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association; member and connections program mentor through the Association for Women Lawyers; member of the Western District Historical Society board of directors; master for Ross T. Roberts Trial Academy; and a member of the Supreme Court Trail Judge Education Committee.
Judge Kyndra J. Stockdale
Judge Kyndra J. Stockdale was appointed as associate circuit judge for the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County on March 1, 2019. Prior to her appointment, she served as an assistant prosecutor with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office from 2005 until 2012.
Judge Stockdale attended the University of Kansas and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 2000, and a Juris Doctorate degree in 2003.
Judge Stockdale is a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, the Kansas Bar Association, the Association of Women Lawyers and the American Bar Association.