Earlier this month, Bowman and Brooke Partner Will Auther was featured on Arizona PBS from Arizona State University in an interview about The Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review (JPR), which recently released its findings on the judicial performance of each judge whose name appears on the 2022 General Election Ballot. Auther, Commission Co-Chair/AZ Commission on Judicial Performance Review, gave insight into the process.
“It’s a commission that is appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court, and it comprises 34 members, geographically and ethnically diverse people. Most of the members are members of the public, with no legal background or training. A small number are judges and a small number are lawyers,” explained Auther.
The JPR is responsible for developing performance standards, thresholds and conducting performance reviews of justices and judges who are merit selected and subject to retention elections. A merit selected judge is someone who must go through a selection committee, which then goes to the Governor, who later appoints them. Auther went on to explain that since the public has little influence on who gets appointed as a judge, the commission steps in to review the appointed judge for retention every few years. This helps the voters decide on who to retain or not.
Auther also explained how reviews are conducted: “Each judge will hand out surveys to anyone who comes in contact with the court: lawyers, parties, litigants, jurors, witnesses, court staff. The data gets gathered, and the surveys have several categories: legal reasoning, judicial temperament, basic fairness and equality, and administrative performance.”
It is rare that judges do not meet the requirements to being retained, but if it happens, they can write a letter to the JPR, and a meeting will be held to discuss about changes to be made. Listen to Auther, Co-Chair/AZ Commission on Judicial Performance Review, share insight into the process here.