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Division 1

Incumbent Sandy Martinez faces a challenger, Jerel Lee Poor II, in the race for 24th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Division 1.

Sandy Martinez (D)

The 24th Judicial Circuit Division 1 Incumbent Sandy Martinez, 55, was elected as circuit judge in 2000 and is running for a another term.

She has two grown children, Chris and Amber, who are both graduates of Farmington High School. Her father, who she lost to leukemia several years ago, was in law enforcement. 

Martinez graduated from the University of Texas in El Paso, with a Bachelor’s degree and received her Law Degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia.

She worked many years as a cashier to put herself through college and eventually worked as a public defender, assistant prosecuting attorney and an elected prosecutor in St. Francois County. 

She was elected the first female prosecutor in St. Francois County in 1998 and in 2000 she was elected the first female 24th circuit judge. She has now served as circuit judge for the 24th Judicial Circuit for almost 18 years, presiding over criminal, civil and juvenile cases, and has also served as presiding judge.

Martinez said in addition, she started the ACES program approximately 14 years ago and travels to many schools monthly to meet with children who have had school attendance issues. She encourages them to attend school and provides them with small incentives thanks to the generous donations.

She said she is running because she loves her job and has devoted her entire career to public service. She said she has worked hard for her community and has experience, not just as a judge presiding over many cases, but as an attorney, trying, presenting, and arguing motions in the courtroom.

Martinez said her entire career has been in the courtroom. She added this is her community. She has raised her children here and hopes to continue serving the community.

Jerel Lee Poor II (R)

Jerel Lee Poor II is an attorney and graduated from Saint Louis University’s School of Law with a Juris Doctor and a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts from Lindenwood University.

He is an Eagle Scout and a horse care volunteer. He also is a groundwork trainer volunteer at the Humane Society.

When asked why he running, Poor said the office of circuit court judge may be an elected position, but it’s not a partisan one. Missouri’s Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits him from talking about political issues.

“This seat incorporates the counties of Saint Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Washington, and Madison,” Poor said. “I decided to run because of my strong belief in service and the rule of law. Under Rule 2-2.2 of Missouri’s Code of Judicial Conduct, ‘A judge shall uphold and apply the law, and shall perform all duties of judicial office promptly, efficiently, fairly and impartially.’ I believe that promoting these principals is fundamental in pre-service justice and the rule of law for our Republic. With regards to the juvenile system, the public policy of our state is in the best interests of the child.”

Poor added he is well aware of the challenges that awaits him when he wins, and he believe that he has the experience and education needed to fulfill the task.

“I believe that I will be a good and fair judge,” Poor said. “To have lawyers, judges, church leaders, child welfare advocates, Republicans and even Democrats cheering me on has been a surreal experience. I’m running to promote a fair, independent and impartial judiciary. To ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equally under the law as prescribed by our Constitution. Justice is blind and everyone, regardless of if they are rich or poor, black or white, Republican or Democrat, are entitled to equal protection under the law.”

Poor said he is just the son of a mechanic, the grandson of a pastor, and the great-grandson of a Missouri farmer. His family has been in Missouri for more than 170 years, so to be considered for this position is a great honor.

“Again, my name is Jerel Lee Poor II, and I ask for your vote,” Poor said.

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Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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