Resource Helps Voters Prepare for Judicial Retention Elections

(KCPW News) Utah’s court system is getting a closer look. The Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission is conducting a statewide series of courtroom observations, having volunteers observe judges and report on how they conduct themselves in court. Anthony Schofield, chair of the commission, says volunteers examine a judge’s neutrality and respect for those on trial.

“They look to see does the judge treat people fairly, does the judge give individuals the chance to be heard so the judge has a full understanding of the positions before making decisions,” he says. “You could be the very best judge in the sense of making right decisions and treat people rudely or with disrespect and people are going to walk out thinking they didn’t get a good day in court even though the judge made the right decision.”

The commission also compiles the observation reports for voters in advance of the election (available online here), so they can be more informed when deciding on their ballots whether a judge should be retained.

“When you walk into the voting booth and you think should I vote for this judge or not, we will give you some greater measure of information so you can make an informed decision on that particular vote,” he explains.