The State Commission on Judicial Performance and local judicial district performance commissions have completed their evaluations of 90 judges who are scheduled to stand for retention in the November 6, 2012, election. The non-partisan commissions are charged with providing voters with fair, responsible, and constructive evaluations of individual judges seeking retention, and providing judges with useful information concerning their performance. The evaluations were made public online on August 7 and will be printed in the Blue Book, which is mailed to every active registered voter household in the state.
The judicial performance commissions evaluate judges on a wide range of criteria, including integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, and administrative performance. To do this, commissions review information from several sources: written opinions and decisions, caseload statistics, interviews, courtroom observations, judges’ self-evaluations, and independent surveys. Earlier this year, surveys were sent to more than 50,000 people who have had recent involvement with the judges, including prosecutors, public defenders, and private attorneys, litigants, jurors, crime victims, law enforcement officers, court employees, court interpreters, and probation officers. The results of interim survey results from past years are also reviewed.
The commissions then produce a narrative for each judge with a recommendation of “retain,” “do not retain,” or “no opinion,” which are included in the “Blue Books” published by the Legislative Council. The Blue Book is an informational booklet which provides voters with an analysis and arguments for and against every statewide ballot measure and also includes the evaluations of the judges standing for retention. The narrative, recommendation, and complete statistical survey results are now available on the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation website and can be viewed here.
The volunteer members are appointed by the Colorado Chief Justice, Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House. Each commission consists of 10 members: six non-attorneys and four attorneys.