Colorado has a system for evaluating the performance of judges, but 9NEWS found in an investigation earlier this year that voters either don’t seem to use or trust the information.
To that end, the state’s Commission on Judicial Performance is asking for people to share ideas on how to provide better information to voters, scheduling 11 public meetings at different locations around the state starting Nov. 14.
9NEWS found that of the last ten judges recommended for firing, voters decided to keep all but three of them on the bench. Judges with failing reviews tend to win elections with 54 percent of the vote.
Our report found that the state’s official voter guide, mailed to the home of every voter in Colorado, buries any negative information about judges on the fourth and final paragraph of each judge’s written evaluation.
Judges also receive letter grades based on surveys of people and attorneys who had business in their courtrooms, but this information is not mailed to voters.
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9NEWS published those letter grades and tips for voters who want to make more informed decisions in our 2016 voter guide.
Two judges up for election this year earned a “do not retain” recommendation: District Court Judge Jill-Ellyn Straus (Adams and Broomfield counties) and District Court Judge Michael Shiferl (Bent, Crowley, and Otero counties.)
The newly scheduled public meetings are meant to gather suggestions on how to make the information more useful and to evaluate the type of information that reviews should include for voters as the law governing these evaluations comes up for renewal in 2019.