Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More on Judicial Evaluations

Our friend from the AK (Alaska, not Arkansas) Judicial Council, Teri Carns, sent this note regarding our post on the judicial evaluation process KS is starting. Sounds like Teri may be one of the first people you should talk to if you're interested in this.

The Judicial Council (Alaska, not Alabama) has been evaluating judges standing for retention since 1976. Every once in a while, we find a judge not qualified and the voters vote the judge out of office. Other times, the judges see the information that will go into the voters' pamphlet and decide not to stand for retention. We think we don't have to recommend against many judges because we have a merit selection system, and put a whole lot of work ahead of time into nominating only the most qualified applicants for the governor to choose from.

The Alaska Judicial Council's evaluation process surveys every lawyer, peace and probation officer, court employee, social worker, guardian ad litem and children's volunteer (CASA) in the state, plus all of the jurors who sat before the judge in the last two years of the judge's term. It also looks at peremptory challenges to the judge, conflict of interest questionnaires, affirmance rates, credit and criminal histories, public and private discipline or admonitions, and collects public comments. We do substantial additional investigation if warranted.

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