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Rule 6. Review Process; Dissemination of Findings

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of Procedure for Judicial Performance Review in the State of ArizonaEffective: January 1, 2020

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Rules of Procedure for Judicial Performance Review in the State of Arizona (Refs & Annos)
Effective: January 1, 2020
17C A.R.S. Rules of Proc. for Jud. Perf. Review, Rule 6
Rule 6. Review Process; Dissemination of Findings
The review process administered by the Commission, with the assistance of the Conference Teams, shall consist of the following:
(a) Data Center. The Court shall employ a qualified contractor or an in-house unit, hereinafter referred to as the Data Center, whose duty it shall be to prepare the survey forms referred to in paragraph (b) below, process the survey responses, and compile the statistical reports of the survey results in a manner designed to ensure the confidentiality and accuracy of the process.
(b) Survey Forms. Mid-way through the judge's term and again no less than 9 months prior to his or her retention election, anonymous survey forms eliciting performance evaluations shall be distributed to attorneys, litigants, witnesses, jurors, other judges and other persons who have been in direct contact with each judge surveyed and who have first-hand knowledge of his or her judicial performance during the evaluation period. The survey forms shall seek evaluations of the judge in accordance with the written performance standards of judicial performance approved by the Supreme Court, such as knowledge of the law and procedure, integrity, impartiality, judicial temperament, administrative skill, punctuality and communication skills, and shall elicit narrative comments regarding the judge's performance. The survey forms shall be processed in a manner to assure confidentiality.
(c) Anonymous Narrative Comments. The narrative comments contained in the survey forms, which shall be anonymous, shall be extracted and provided to the judge, to his or her Conference Team for the purpose of self-improvement, to his or her presiding judge or chief judge, and to the Chief Justice. In addition, such anonymous narrative comments, with the name of the judge redacted, may be distributed to the Administrative Office of the Courts for use in development of judicial education programs. Narrative comments shall not be accessible to the public, shall be confidential, and shall be used only in connection with the preparation of a plan of self-improvement of the judge by the Conference Team. The submission of a survey form containing an anonymous narrative comment does not preclude the attorney, litigant, witness, juror, judge or other person surveyed from submitting a public comment, whether in writing or at public hearing pursuant to Rule 6(d), or otherwise.
(d) Public Comment and Hearings. In each election year prior to the public vote meeting, the Commission shall request written public comments and hold public hearings with respect to judges standing for retention. Any person wishing to speak in favor of or in opposition to the retention of a judge being reviewed may do so at the public hearings. The public hearings shall be recorded. The names and addresses of the speakers shall be required in order to speak. Written comments will not be considered unless legible and unless the name and address of the author is included. Telephone numbers, day and evening, are requested. Comments of the public shall be considered by the Commission in formulating its findings as to whether the judge meets judicial performance standards.
(e) Judicial Discipline. The Commission shall obtain from the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct information as to whether discipline has been imposed on any judge being reviewed. If discipline has been imposed on any judge being reviewed, the Commission shall obtain the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct's file regarding such discipline to the extent allowed by the rules of the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct.
(f) Reports.
(1) Data Report. In April of each election year, Commission staff shall disseminate a compiled data report (including confidential comments made on the survey forms), together with any public comments, to the judge being reviewed, his or her presiding judge or chief judge, and the Chief Justice. The data reports (excluding the confidential comments made on survey forms), and any public comments, encoded by judge number, will be made available to the Commission members for review. In formulating its findings as to whether a judge “meets” or “does not meet” judicial performance standards, the members of the Commission shall consider and weigh carefully the evaluation data developed in the survey process, the disciplinary record, public hearings, and written public comment. While statistical summaries of evaluation data regarding a judge's performance may be compared to the performance of comparable judges, that comparison shall not be given dispositive effect in arriving at a conclusion. In all aspects of the Commission's reporting, to the fullest extent practicable, generally accepted statistical methods and techniques shall be utilized. If it is impracticable for the Commission to utilize generally accepted statistical methods and techniques in any aspect of its reporting, the Commission shall so disclose.
(2) Consideration of Prior Performance Reviews. In addition to current survey data regarding each judge, the Commission will also review all past surveys and evaluations for any judge whose performance score or rating falls below the threshold standard established by the Commission.
(3) Invitation to Respond.
(a) The Chair shall invite any judge who is reviewed under subsection (f)(2) to respond regarding his or her survey scores.
(b) Regardless of the judge's scores or ratings, by a majority vote the Commission may ask the Commission Chair to invite the judge to answer questions regarding his or her survey scores or ratings, public comments received, or other performance-related questions.
(4) Confidentiality of Responses and Impact on Members' Eligibility to Vote. The judge who chooses to respond to the invitation shall have the right to submit confidential written comments to the Commission and to appear and be heard in executive session by the Commission at a date and time set by the Commission prior to the public vote, pursuant to Rule 2(e). Any member who fails to attend the executive session at which the judge appears shall not vote on that judge.
(5) Public Vote. Except as otherwise provided by these rules and Rule 2(d), in each election year, the commission shall vote in a public meeting on whether a judge who is standing for retention “meets” or “does not meet” judicial performance standards. A commissioner may vote in person, by telephone, by video-conference, or by written ballot.
(6) Report of the Commission. In each election year, the Commission shall compile a report on the judicial performance of each judge standing for retention, which shall include: a summary of the results of the survey forms as to the judge; a summary of any written or oral public comments received by the Commission pursuant to Rule 2(g)(3) that the Commission deems pertinent; any biographical or other data on such judge which are deemed pertinent by the Commission; the Commission's finding as to whether the judge has failed to cooperate with the judicial performance review process; and the Commission's finding as to whether the judge “meets” or “does not meet” judicial performance standards. The report shall be formatted in such a manner that judges whom the Commission determines do not meet judicial performance standards shall be segregated and listed before those that do meet standards. Should the Commission find that a judge has failed to cooperate during the judicial performance review process, the report shall identify the conduct upon which the finding is based. The Commission shall disseminate its report and, except as provided in Rule 7, any other information which the Commission deems relevant to the retention decision, to the public and the judge being reviewed no earlier than the public vote and not later than the earliest date for receipt by registered voters of any requested early ballots for the general election pursuant to A.R.S. § 16-542(a). The Commission's report shall be distributed to the public by publication in the secretary of state's voter information pamphlet pursuant to A.R.S. § 19-123(5), through the judicial performance review website, and by other means deemed necessary to reach voters in the state.

Credits

Promulgated on an emergency basis effective May 26, 1993, adopted in final form July 8, 1993. Amended Feb. 27, 1996, effective Feb. 9, 1996; Oct. 6, 1997, effective Dec. 1, 1997; Jan. 26, 2004, effective June 1, 2004. Amended and effective April 27, 2004. Amended April 27, 2004, effective June 1, 2004; Jan. 20, 2006, effective June 1, 2006; Sept. 3, 2009, effective Jan. 1, 2010; amended on an emergency basis Aug. 27, 2019, effective Sept. 1, 2019, adopted on a permanent basis Dec. 12, 2019.
17C A. R. S. Rules of Proc. for Jud. Perf. Review, Rule 6, AZ ST J PERF REVIEW Rule 6
State Court Rules are current with amendments received and effective through 5/15/22. The Code of Judicial Administration is current with amendments received through 5/15/22.
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