ST. LOUIS, MO (STL.News) Judge Robert G. Dowd Jr. has been elected chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, by unanimous vote of the judges of the court. His term begins July 1, 2020, marking the second time he has served as the court’s chief judge. Dowd previously served as chief judge from July 1998 through June 1999. The chief judge is the chief administrative officer of the court, presides at court en banc meetings and represents the court to the public.
Dowd’s election marks the sixth time a Dowd has occupied the court’s top post. Dowd’s father, Judge Robert G. Dowd Sr., previously served two terms as chief judge. His cousin, James R. Dowd, and his brother, James M. Dowd, also served as chief judge of the court.
“I am honored to be elected to serve my colleagues as the Court’s next chief judge,” he said. “I am dedicated to serving the citizens of the State of Missouri by providing fair and efficient resolution of the appeals that are filed in this Court.”
Dowd was appointed to the Eastern District in 1994 by the late Governor Mel Carnahan. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Quincy College and his law degree from St. Mary’s University. Prior to his judicial career, Dowd engaged in private law practice at the Dowd & Dowd Law Firm, founded by his uncle, Edward L. Dowd Sr., and his father. He was elected in 1978 as a magistrate judge for the city of St. Louis and retained in 1982 as an associate circuit judge. In 1985, Governor John Ashcroft appointed Dowd as a circuit judge for the city of St. Louis, where he served until his appointment to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, under the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan. In November 2008, he was retained in office for a 12-year term that expires December 31, 2020. When Dowd’s term concludes in December, he will have served as a judge for 41 years.
Dowd is a member of The Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and the Lawyers Association of St. Louis. He chaired the Judicial Education Committee from 1994-2000 and the Judicial Finance Commission from 1994-2003, and the Supreme Court of Missouri appointed him to serve on the Appellate Reapportionment Commission in 2011. He is the coordinator of the Saint Louis University School of Law Joseph J. Simeone Intern Fellowship at the court of appeals. Over the years, he has been active in the community and served on the Mental Health Association of Greater St. Louis, the board of directors for the Catholic Youth Council, the Daughters of St. Paul and Dismas House, among other associations.
Dowd married the former Denise M. Sandoz, and they have three children and one grandchild. Dowd is a member of St. Stephen Protomartyr Catholic Church.
The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, hears appeals from the trial courts in 25 counties in eastern Missouri and the City of St. Louis. It is the largest court in the state appellate system. The court is located in the historic Old Post Office in downtown St. Louis but regularly holds sessions at various locations throughout the district.