Studies of judicial independence abound. Yet most of them focus on the federal courts, even though the overwhelming bulk of the contacts between the public and the courts take place in state and municipal courts. 1 And there are real questions about judicial independence at the state and local level. Preliminary results from a recent survey of the municipal courts in Missouri show significant structural and attitudinal barriers to judicial independence. The results are preliminary in light of the deadline for this issue: only a relatively short time was available to analyze the responses before submitting this article. Even the early returns suggest real problems, however. A 15-question survey was sent August 6, 2004 to all of the 473 reported municipal courts in Missouri. The questionnaire was designed to assess the administrative structure of eac
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