For Immediate Release - May 17, 2013

Supreme Judicial Court's Judicial Performance Evaluation Program Seeks Response in Evaluation of Judges in Essex County

The Supreme Judicial Court will send questionnaires next week to attorneys and court employees to evaluate 36 Superior, District, Housing, Probate and Family, and Juvenile Court judges in Essex County as part of the ongoing program to evaluate and enhance judicial performance. For the next several months, jurors who participate in trials will receive questionnaires upon completion of their jury duty.

Attorneys whose email addresses are known to the Supreme Judicial Court will receive an invitation to use the confidential evaluation website and are given a username and password. Almost all of the 7000 attorneys selected for the evaluation will be able to complete the evaluation online. If an attorney is not registered with the Supreme Judicial Court, but would like to receive judicial evaluation notices in the future, email addresses can be registered here.

The Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee requests that attorneys who receive questionnaires complete and return them to the Supreme Judicial Court as soon as possible, as the success of the evaluation program depends upon timely responses. A high rate of participation enables the Committee to provide judges with fair and complete evaluations. Lawyers who have appeared in court in these counties in the last two years, according to computerized court records, have received questionnaires. Questionnaires will be accepted by the Court through mid-July.

Among the categories covered in the evaluations are: a judge's knowledge of the law; temperament on the bench; courtroom control; treatment of litigants, witnesses, jurors, and attorneys; fairness and impartiality; and, timeliness in issuing written decisions.

All questionnaires (both paper and electronic) are confidential and do not request the names of respondents. The resulting reports are also confidential and are given only to the judge being evaluated and to the appropriate Chief Justices.

Please direct any inquiries concerning questionnaires and evaluations to Mona Hochberg, Supreme Judicial Court Judicial Performance Evaluation Coordinator, at (617) 557-1156, or via email at mona.hochberg@sjc.state.ma.us. For other information, please contact Joan Kenney, Public Information Officer, Supreme Judicial Court, at (617) 557-1114, or via email at joan.kenney@sjc.state.ma.us.