Supreme Judicial Court Seeks Response in Evaluation of Judges
in Five Southeastern Counties
As part of the continuing program to evaluate and enhance judicial performance, the Supreme Judicial Court recently sent questionnaires to attorneys and court employees in Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties. Jurors who participate in trials will receive questionnaires upon completion of their jury duty for the next several months. Eighty-six judges will be evaluated in the District Court, Juvenile Court, Superior Court, Housing Court, and Probate and Family Court.
Attorneys should complete and return the questionnaires to the Supreme Judicial Court by July 13, 2011 as the success of the evaluation program depends upon timely responses. A high rate of participation provides judges with fair and complete evaluations.
Lawyers who have appeared in court multiple times 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.
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 inviting them to use the evaluation website and are given a username and password. Approximately 6200 lawyers will be able to complete the evaluation online. If an attorney wishes 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.
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.