For most voters, deciding whether to retain judges can be the most challenging part of the ballot for a simple reason: They have no idea who the judges are or how well they perform their duties.
Since judges hand down verdicts and sentences, they have a weighty role in America. A judge, for instance, may decide to give a slap on the wrist to a cop convicted of excessive force, or a successful college kid convicted of rape.
One way to weed out bad judges from good ones is by reviewing the judicial performance evaluations, which are listed in your Blue Book or online at ojpe.org. This year, evaluations are listed for all 108 Colorado appellate and trial court judges standing for retention in the November election.
The reviews are done by the State Commission on Judicial Performance and local judicial district performance commissions, each with six non-attorney members and four attorney members. The evaluations look at a judge's integrity, knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament and administrative performance.
More than 83,000 surveys are sent to people involved with judges in some way, including prosecutors, public defenders, attorneys, litigants, jurors, crime victims, police, court employees, court interpreters and probation officers.
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