Missouri Constitution Section

Article V
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Section 27
November 14, 2016
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Effective date and transition provisions.

Section 27. Except as otherwise provided in this article, the effective date of this article shall be January 2, 1979.

1. All judges elected in 1978 shall be sworn into office on January 1, 1979.

2. All magistrate courts, probate courts, courts of common pleas, the St. Louis court of criminal correction, and municipal corporation courts shall continue to exist until the effective date of this article at which time said courts shall cease to exist. When such courts cease to exist:

a. The jurisdiction of magistrate courts shall be transferred to the circuit court of the circuit and such courts shall become divisions of the circuit court.

b. The jurisdiction of probate courts within the circuit shall be transferred to the circuit court and such courts shall become divisions of the circuit court.

c. The jurisdiction of St. Louis court of criminal correction and all courts of common pleas shall be transferred to the circuit court for the respective circuit and such courts shall become divisions of the circuit court. The provisions of law relating to practice and procedure of the courts of common pleas shall, until otherwise changed by law, remain in effect and the provision of law relating to practice, procedure, venue, jurisdiction, selection of jurors, election of clerk and provisions for deputies and all other provisions of law relating to the Hannibal Court of Common Pleas shall until otherwise changed by law, remain in effect as to such division of the Marion county circuit court and said division shall be known as division number 2 of the Marion county circuit court instead of the Hannibal Court of Common Pleas.

d. The jurisdiction of municipal courts shall be transferred to the circuit court of the circuit in which such municipality or major geographical area thereof shall be located and, such courts shall become divisions of the circuit court. When such courts cease to exist, all records, papers and files shall be transferred to the circuit court which may designate the place where such records may be maintained.

e. Divisions of the circuit court created by this subsection may be changed hereafter by law.

f. After the effective date of this article, in counties with a population of over thirty thousand and less than sixty-five thousand, the office expenses and salaries of associate circuit judges and their clerks who before the effective date of this article were probate judges shall continue to be paid by the counties.

g. After the effective date of this article, in all counties with a population of over sixty-five thousand and in any city not within a county, the office expenses and salaries of the circuit judges who before the effective date of this article were probate judges in said counties or city, shall be paid by the respective counties or city.

3. Until otherwise provided by law associate circuit judges shall hear all cases or matters, civil and criminal, as now provided by law for magistrates within the county and such additional cases or classes of cases as may be provided by law. Until otherwise provided by law, associate circuit judges shall hear all cases or matters as now provided by law for probate courts within the county, except that in the city of St. Louis, in all first class counties, and all second class counties with a population of over sixty-five thousand, the circuit judge of the probate division of the circuit court shall hear all cases and matters as now provided by law for probate courts within such circuits or counties. An associate circuit judge exercising probate jurisdiction shall, in connection therewith, possess general equitable powers. Associate circuit judges of the city of St. Louis shall hear all civil and criminal cases as now provided by law for magistrates and the St. Louis court of criminal correction including appeals and preliminary hearings in felony cases and such additional cases or classes of cases as may hereafter be provided by law. Until otherwise provided by law or supreme court rule the practice, procedure, filing fees and administration of causes heard by associate circuit judges within the jurisdiction of former magistrate and probate courts shall be and remain the same as in the court abolished.

4. a. In 1978, all probate judges except those selected under the nonpartisan selection of judges plan shall be elected as provided by law. On the effective date of this article the probate judge of the city of St. Louis and the probate judges of all first class counties and all second class counties with a population of over sixty-five thousand shall become circuit judges of their respective circuits and thereafter shall be selected or elected from the circuit as in the case of other circuit judges and be entitled to the same compensation as provided by law for circuit judges at the time of the effective date of this article until changed by law, and shall have the same powers and jurisdiction as judges of the circuit court. Each judge who served as probate judge and who is in office on the effective date of this article in such city and counties shall continue to serve in the capacity of judge of the probate division of the circuit court until his successor is selected and qualified, provided that with his consent any circuit or associate circuit judge in the circuit at his request may hear, try and dispose of any matter, case or classes of cases assigned to him by such judge of the probate division, and such judge of the probate division with his consent, may hear, try and determine any case within the jurisdiction of the circuit court. On the effective date of this article the probate judges of counties with a population of sixty-five thousand or less shall become associate circuit judges of their respective circuits and thereafter shall be selected or elected from the county as in the case of other associate circuit judges and shall be entitled to the same compensation as that to which they were entitled on the effective date of this article until changed by law.

b. On the effective date of this article, judges of the St. Louis court of criminal correction and judges of the courts of common pleas shall become circuit judges and be entitled to the compensation of circuit judges and shall have the same power and jurisdiction as circuit judges.

c. In 1978, all magistrates shall be elected as provided by law. On the effective date of this article all magistrates who are then in office shall become associate circuit judges and shall serve out the remainder of their terms as such. Each such judge shall be entitled to the same compensation as that to which he was entitled on the effective date of this article until otherwise changed by law.

5. The right to and method of review from a final judgment or appealable order of an associate circuit judge, or municipal judge, when so acting within the jurisdiction of cases heretofore within the jurisdiction of the former magistrate or municipal courts shall, until otherwise provided by law, be de novo before a circuit judge or another associate circuit judge within the circuit except that appeals from an associate circuit judge exercising probate jurisdiction in any circuit, and appeals from any cause from an associate circuit judge as provided by law shall be appealed to the appropriate district of the court of appeals upon a record as authorized by law or supreme court rule. Appeals in misdemeanor cases from the associate circuit judge from the city of St. Louis shall be as now provided until changed by law.

6. The costs of judicial proceedings as provided for in all courts existing before the adoption of this article shall remain in effect with respect to cases which would have been within the jurisdiction of those courts until such costs are otherwise changed by law. Until otherwise provided by law, if a cause could have been filed in more than one court before the effective date of this article, the lower cost structure shall be used in calculating costs; provided, however, that a party instituting a civil suit which would have been within the concurrent jurisdiction of the circuit and magistrate courts prior to the effective date of this article may designate the case as being one to be processed in accordance with procedures and rules appertaining before circuit judges, and the court costs heretofore applicable to such cases in circuit court shall apply.

7. Until the effective date of this article the courts of common pleas, the St. Louis court of criminal corrections, the magistrate courts, the probate courts and the municipal corporation courts shall continue to have the jurisdiction and power provided in the article repealed hereby and provided by the laws and rules enacted thereunder, and shall continue to follow the procedures as provided in such article, laws and rules.

8. Each judge who, on the effective date of this article, becomes a circuit or associate circuit judge in any circuit subject to the provisions of sections 25(a)-(g) of this article shall be eligible for retention in office as a circuit or associate circuit judge respectively by filing in the office of the secretary of state a declaration of candidacy for election not less than sixty days prior to the holding of the general election next preceding the expiration of his term of office. If a majority of those voting on the question vote against retaining him in office, upon the expiration of his term of office, a vacancy shall exist which shall be filled by appointment as provided in section 25(a); otherwise, said judge shall, unless removed for cause, remain in office for the number of years after December thirty-first following such election as is provided for the full term of such office and at the expiration of each such term shall be eligible for retention in office by election in the same manner prescribed by section 25(c)(1). The secretary of state shall certify the name of such judges in accordance with law or in accordance with section 25(c)(2) of this article.

9. On the effective date of this article the judges of the magistrate court and the judges of the probate court in any circuit which selects judges under the nonpartisan selection of judges shall become nonpartisan judges. The judges of the probate courts of the city of St. Louis and all first class counties, and all second class counties with a population of over sixty-five thousand, when such courts cease to exist, and the judges of the St. Louis court of criminal corrections, shall become circuit judges and receive the compensation payable to circuit judges.

9. a. The judges of all municipal corporations courts in office at the time such courts cease to exist and who qualify for office under the provisions of section 21 of this article shall continue in office until the expiration of the terms to which they have been elected or appointed unless otherwise provided by law. When such courts cease to exist, the judges thereof who continue in office shall become municipal judges and shall serve as such until their terms expire or are otherwise removed. They shall receive the compensation now provided until otherwise changed by law. Such compensation shall be paid by the municipality or municipalities they serve. Upon the expiration of their terms, they shall become eligible for retention in office as municipal judges in the same manner as now provided for the selection of municipal judges in the municipality they serve until otherwise provided by law. In the event the municipal judge now serving shall fail, refuse or be disqualified from continuing in office, the municipality may elect or appoint a municipal judge in the same manner as is now provided in that municipality for selection of a municipal judge unless otherwise provided by law. All expenses incidental to the functioning of municipal judges, including the cost of any staff, and their quarters shall be paid and provided by the respective municipalities as now provided for municipal courts until otherwise provided by law. In municipalities with a population of under four hundred thousand which do not have a municipal judge or for which no municipal judge is provided by law, associate circuit judges shall hear and determine violations of municipal ordinances. No associate circuit judge shall, however, act as a municipal judge in any city with a population of four hundred thousand or more until otherwise provided by law.

10. a. 1. Until otherwise provided by law, circuit clerks in each circuit and county shall be selected in the same manner as provided by law on the effective date of this article, except that in counties having a charter form of government, the circuit clerk shall be selected in the manner as provided in the charter of such county.

2. Upon the expiration of the terms of office of the clerk of the circuit court for criminal causes of the city of St. Louis, and the term of the clerk of the St. Louis court of criminal correction, the offices of such clerks shall cease to exist and thereafter the clerk of the circuit court of the city of St. Louis shall have the powers and perform the duties and functions of such clerks and shall serve all divisions of the circuit court, except the courts presided over by an associate circuit judge, the judge of the probate division of the circuit court and by municipal judges.

3. In any division of the circuit court presided over by an associate circuit judge, in the probate division of the circuit court, and in any division presided over by a municipal judge, the clerks and their deputies of the respective divisions shall continue to be selected in the same manner as provided for by law on the effective date of this article until otherwise changed by law.

4. There shall continue to be an office of circuit clerk in each county of the circuit, until otherwise changed by law.

b. Upon the effective date of this article, the office of constable serving magistrate courts is abolished. The functions, powers and duties of such constables shall be transferred to and be performed by the sheriff of the county or the sheriff of the city of St. Louis.

c. Upon the effective date of this article the office of prosecuting attorney of the city of St. Louis shall be abolished and all the duties, powers, and functions of such office shall be transferred to the circuit attorney of the city of St. Louis who shall have such powers and perform such functions and duties as the prosecuting attorney of the city of St. Louis.

d. No election shall be held in 1978 for the offices which are abolished by this subsection 10.

11. The commissioners of the supreme court holding office on the effective date of this article shall continue to hold office as commissioners of the court until the end of their terms, and shall be eligible for reappointment thereafter from term to term under existing law until retirement, death, resignation or removal for cause. Upon the occurrence of such vacancy in the office of commissioner of the supreme court, such office shall cease to exist. Commissioners, in addition to their regular duties, shall be subject to temporary assignment for the performance of judicial duties as special judges of the supreme court, court of appeals, or circuit court on order of the supreme court. During such temporary assignments, commissioners sitting as special judges shall have the same powers, duties, and responsibilities as are vested by law in the regular judges of the courts to which they are assigned.

12. The boundaries and territorial jurisdiction of the districts of the court of appeals and of the judicial circuits as they exist on the effective date of this article shall be continued in effect until such time as changed by law.

13. The commission on retirement, removal and discipline and the nonpartisan appellate and circuit judicial commissions in existence on the effective date of this article shall continue to exist, and the terms of office for such commissions shall continue in effect.

14. "Judge" as used in sections 20, 24 and 26 of this article shall include commissioners of the supreme court.

15. Nothing in this article shall deprive any person of any right or privilege to retire and the retirement benefits to which he was entitled immediately prior to the effective date of this article.

16. A municipal corporation with a population of under four hundred thousand shall have the right to enforce its ordinances and to conduct prosecutions before an associate circuit judge in the absence of a municipal judge and in appellate courts under the process authorized or provided by this article and shall receive and retain any fines to which it may be entitled. All court costs shall be paid to and deposited monthly in the state treasury. No filing fees shall be charged in such prosecutions unless and until provided for by a law enacted after the adoption of this article.

17. Until otherwise provided by law, the circuit courts shall continue to have jurisdiction to review administrative decisions, findings, rules, and orders in the manner and practice and pursuant to the laws and rules then in force at the time this article becomes effective.

18. All rights, claims, causes of action and obligations existing and all contracts, prosecutions, recognizances and other instruments executed or entered into and all indictments, informations, and complaints which shall have been filed and all actions which shall have been instituted and all fines, penalties and forfeitures assessed, due or owing prior to the effective date of this article shall continue to be as valid as if this article had not been adopted.

19. The general assembly may enact such laws and make such appropriations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this article.

20. All laws and rules inconsistent with the provisions of this article shall, on the effective date hereof, be and are repealed. Except to the extent inconsistent with the provisions of this article, all provisions of law and rules of court in force on the effective date of this amendment shall continue in effect until superseded in a manner authorized by the constitution or by law.

21. In the event that a new district of the court of appeals is established, the judges presently serving on any district of the court of appeals shall continue to be judges of the court of appeals to which appointed although they are not residents of the court of appeals district in which they serve.

22. Until otherwise provided by law, in any cause heard and determined by an associate circuit judge, the associate circuit judge shall utilize electronic, magnetic, or mechanical sound or video recording devices for the purpose of preserving the record. Electronic, magnetic, or mechanical recording devices shall be approved by the office of state courts administrator prior to their utilization by any associate circuit judge.

23. Each circuit in which judges are selected under the nonpartisan court plan, on the effective date of this article, including the circuits of Platte county, Clay county, and St. Louis county, shall continue under the nonpartisan court plan until and unless such method of selection of judges is discontinued by the voters of the circuit as provided by sections 25(a)-(g) of this article.

24. Judges, other than municipal judges, not selected under the provisions of sections 25(a)-(g) of this article who on the effective date of this article or within six months thereafter, are seventy years of age or older, may petition the commission on retirement, removal and discipline to continue to serve until age seventy-six if he has not completed a total of twelve years of service as a judge. Judges, other than municipal judges, not selected under the provisions of sections 25(a)-(g) of this article who are in office on the effective date of this article, may, within six months before attaining the age of seventy years, petition the commission on retirement, removal, and discipline to be allowed to serve after he has attained that age until age seventy-six or has completed a total of twelve years of service as a judge, whichever shall first occur. If the commission finds the petitioner to be able to perform his duties and approves such service, the petitioner may continue to serve as such a judge until age seventy-six if he has not completed a total of twelve years of service as a judge at such age. No such judge shall be permitted to serve as such a judge beyond the age of seventy-six years regardless of whether or not he has completed a total of twelve years except for the purpose of completing the term to which he was elected or appointed.

Source: Const. of 1945.

(Amended August 3, 1976)


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