The Supreme Judicial Court's judicial performance evaluation program is the primary method for members of the bar to provide feedback about the judges before whom they have appeared. Since its inception in 2001, attorneys have submitted over 150,000 individual evaluations of trial court judges. These evaluations are extremely useful to the judiciary in developing individual and court-wide professional development programs and in helping judges be the best judges they can be.
Questionnaires are distributed to attorneys (via a confidential, secure website), to court employees (paper questionnaires sent to their home addresses) and jurors (distributed at a trial's conclusion). All responses are anonymous and cannot be traced back to the respondent. Each trial court judge is evaluated approximately every three years. After a judge receives their evaluation report with the aggregate data and open ended comments from the respondents, the judge meets with his or her departmental chief justice to discuss the findings of the report along with other measures of the judge's performance. Professional development is the objective of the meeting. The Chief Justice of the Trial Court and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court also receive copies of the report.
The development and implementation of judicial performance evaluation is consistent with G. L. c. 211, § 26 and Rule 1:16 of the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court.
For more information, contact Mona Hochberg, the Coordinator of Judicial Performance Evaluation at Mona.Hochberg@sjc.state.ma.us.