Terry Carwile: Review information
August 30, 2008
To the editor:
In 1966, Colorado voters abolished partisan elections for judges and established a merit selection system for the nomination, appointment and retention of judges and justices in the state court system. Under this system, merit is considered by examining factors such as legal training and background, judicial temperament, intellectual ability, neutrality, fairness and capability for upholding the law.
As a supplement to this merit-based system, the Colorado General Assembly created Judicial Performance Commissions in 1988. These commissions provide fair, responsible and constructive evaluations of trial judges seeking retention. The evaluations also provide judges with information that can be used to improve their professional skills. Determining what constitutes a good judge involves examining a variety of characteristics and skills. Typical discussions of a judge’s performance focus on topics such as integrity, demeanor, diligence, legal knowledge and ability and impartiality.
The commissioners are local community members appointed by the governor, chief justice, president of the Senate, and speaker of the House, who appoint six non-lawyers and four lawyers to staggered four-year terms in each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts.
Our state’s merit-based system for the retention of judges is a true example of local control!
Soon, the Colorado Legislative Council’s analysis (blue book) of the various ballot proposals and judges standing for retention will be sent to each voter household. Please take time to review and familiarize yourself with the information contained in the pamphlet.
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