Judicature Volume: 72 Issue: 4 Dated: (December-January 1989) Pages: 211-216
This article on citizen evaluation of judicial performance in Colorado considers the importance of such evaluation, the composition and working relationships of citizens' committees, the collection of information, the decisionmaking process, and communication of evaluations.
For citizens to maintain the popular accountability of the judiciary, they must be involved in evaluating judicial performance on two levels: the collection of information about judicial performance from the citizen's perspective and the communication of citizen opinions to the judiciary. In Colorado, citizens, through the initiative of the Colorado Judicial Institute, essentially took judicial evaluation into their own hands in 1984 and 1986 pilot projects. Citizen evaluation of judges up for retention election makes information available to the community about judicial performance and focuses citizen attention on educating voters about judges. It also serves as a vehicle for increasing judicial awareness about citizens' need. The Colorado evaluation groups essentially represent the court consumer. As such, they may be in a unique position to catch community attention and arouse interest in the promotion of judicial excellence. Lessons from Colorado pertain to the continuity of commissions, costs and benefits, and standardized instruments and consistent criteria. 41 footnotes.
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