Supreme Judicial Court's Judicial Performance Evaluation Program Seeks Response in
Evaluation of Superior Court Judges in Suffolk and Middlesex Counties
As part of the ongoing program to evaluate and enhance judicial performance, the Supreme Judicial Court recently sent questionnaires to attorneys and court employees to evaluate 32 Superior Court judges in Suffolk and Middlesex Counties. For the next several months, jurors who participate in trials will also receive questionnaires upon completion of their jury duty.
Lawyers who have appeared in court in these counties in the last two years, according to computerized court records, have received questionnaires. All questionnaires 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. The deadline for returning the questionnaires is 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.
Attorneys whose email addresses are known to the Supreme Judicial Court receive an invitation asking them to use the confidential evaluation website and are given a username and password. Almost all of the 7,000 attorneys selected for the evaluation will be able to complete the evaluation online. If an attorney wishes for the Supreme Judicial Court to have their email address for conducting evaluations in the future, email addresses can be registered at http://judeval.sjc.state.ma.us/?go=reg.
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.
Inquiries concerning questionnaires and evaluations should be directed to Mona Hochberg, Supreme Judicial Court Judicial Performance Evaluation Coordinator, at (617) 557-1156, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Supreme Judicial Court began the judicial evaluation program in 2001. The questionnaires are distributed to attorneys, court employees, and jurors throughout the state on a continuing cycle.