Other Judicial Recommendations
Statistics on judicial election evaluations
There are essentially two kinds of judicial evaluations: those which are “neutral”—that is, those which seek to evaluate and recommend candidates based only on competency and qualifications; and those which are “partisan”—that is, those which have a political or ideological bias and evaluate and recommend candidates based (at least in part) on their perceived political or ideological beliefs. This page only covers “neutral” evaluations, since the results of partisan evaluations are relatively predictable in any given race—the partisan evaluator will support the candidate of one party and not support the candidate of the other party.
Neutral evaluators usually base their recommendations on surveys of attorneys, jurors, other members of the public who have come into professional contact with the judge, questionnaires the judge fills out for the evaluators, and/or personal interviews conducted by the evaluators.
All of the following evaluations were made for the 2010 elections, unless otherwise noted.
EVALUATIONS FOR RETENTION ELECTIONS
Judges Receiving "Retention" Recommendation
% Receiving "Retention" Recommendation
|Know Your Judges||CO||135||133||99%|
|Vote For Judges||Cook County, IL||69||66||96%|
|Arizon Commission on Judicial Performance Review||AZ||64||64||100%|
|Alaska Judicial Council||AK||28||27||96%|
|Kansas Commission on Judicial Performance||KS||65||65||100%|
|New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission||NM||75||74||99%|
|Tennessee Appellate Judges Evaluation Report||TN||5||5||100%|
|Utah Judicial Council||UT||126||126||100%|
EVALUATIONS FOR CONTESTED ELECTIONS
% Receiving "Excellent" Rating
% Receiving "Good" Rating
% Receiving "Adequate" Rating
% Receiving "Unqualified" Rating
|Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Associate||32||44% (14)||26% (9)||19% (6)||9% (3)|
|Columbus Bar Association||18||39% (7)||N/A||39% (7)||22% (4)|
|King County Bar Association||17||47% (8)||41% (7)||6% (1)||6% (1)|
A rough pattern emerges from this brief survey: the commissions that evaluate candidates in retention elections almost always recommend retention, whereas the commissions that evaluate candidates in contested elections occasionally (though not very often) rate a candidate as “unqualified.” One possibility is that all of the candidates in retention election are by definition already judges, so they will have prior judicial experience, whereas at least some of the candidates in contested elections have never served as judges before and therefore lack that qualification. At this point there are not enough candidates rated “unqualified” for us to see if this is indeed the reason for the slight difference in the percentage of candidates who fail to get the approval of the evaluation committee.