DAR File No. 37382
This rule was published in the April 1, 2013, issue (Vol. 2013, No. 7) of the Utah State Bulletin.
Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, Administration
Judicial Performance Evaluations
Notice of Proposed Rule
DAR File No.: 37382
Filed: 03/04/2013 02:46:04 PM
Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:
The rule accounts for circumstances related to appointment dates in which it is impossible to conduct a complete midterm evaluation of a judge.
Summary of the rule or change:
The rule permits the commission to provide a judge with a partial midterm evaluation if the judge's appointment date precludes the collection of sufficient data for a full midterm evaluation.
State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:
- Sections 78A-12-201 through 78A-12-206
Anticipated cost or savings to:
the state budget:
Because the rule limits the work that the commission must do in certain circumstances, there is no anticipated cost for the state. However, because the work is contracted for before the appointment date of affected judges, there is no cost savings either.
The commission has no authority with respect to local government and its work has nothing to do with local government. Consequently, there is no anticipated cost or savings to local government.
Because the commission has no authority with respect to small businesses and has no contracts or other dealings with small businesses, there is no anticipated cost or savings to small businesses.
persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:
Because the commission has no authority with respect to persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local government entities, there is no anticipated cost or savings to such persons.
Compliance costs for affected persons:
The commission assumes all compliance costs, so no costs for anyone else at all.
Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:
The change has no fiscal impact on businesses.
Joanne C. Slotnik, Executive Director
The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission
Room B-330 SENATE BUILDING
420 N STATE ST
SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84114
Direct questions regarding this rule to:
- Joanne Slotnik at the above address, by phone at 801-538-1652, by FAX at 801-538-1024, or by Internet E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:
This rule may become effective on:
Anthony Schofield, Chair
R597. Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, Administration.
R597-3. Judicial Performance Evaluations.
R597-3-1. Evaluation Cycles.
(1) For judges not serving on the supreme court:
(a) The mid-term evaluation cycle. Except as provided in subsection (3) the mid-term evaluation cycle begins upon the appointment of the judge or on the first Monday in January following the retention election of the judge and ends 2 1/2 years later, on June 30th of the third year preceding the year of the judge's next retention election.
(b) The retention evaluation cycle. The retention evaluation cycle begins the day after the mid-term evaluation cycle is finished and ends two years later, on June 30th of the year preceding the year of the judge's next retention election.
(2) For justices serving on the supreme court:
(a) The initial evaluation cycle. The initial evaluation cycle begins upon the appointment of the justice or on the first Monday in January following the retention election of the justice and ends 2 1/2 years later, on June 30th of the seventh year preceding the year of the justice's next retention election.
(b) The mid-term evaluation cycle. The mid-term evaluation cycle begins the day after the initial evaluation cycle is finished and ends four years later, on June 30th of the third year preceding the year of the justice's next retention election.
(c) The retention evaluation cycle. The retention evaluation cycle begins the day after the mid-term evaluation cycle is finished and ends two years later, on June 30th of the year preceding the year of the justice's next retention election.
(3)Transition Evaluation Cycles
(a) For judges not on the supreme court standing for retention election in 2014, the retention evaluation cycle shall begin on June 1, 2012 and end on June 30, 2013.
(b) For supreme court justices standing for retention election in 2014, the retention evaluation cycle shall begin on June 1, 2012 and end on June 30, 2013.
(c) For judges not on the supreme court standing for retention election in 2016:
(i) Except as provided in subsection (3), the mid-term evaluation cycle shall begin on July 1, 2011 and end two years later on June 30, 2013.
(ii) The retention evaluation cycle shall be as described in R597-3(1)(b), supra.
(d) For supreme court justices standing for retention election in 2016:
(i) The initial evaluation cycle shall be combined with the mid-term evaluation, beginning in 2009 and ending on June 30, 2013.
(ii) The combined initial/mid-term evaluation cycle for surveys of attorneys shall begin in 2009 and end on June 30, 2013.
(iii) The combined initial/mid-term evaluation cycle for relevant pilot programs categories shall begin no later than July 1, 2010.
(iv) The retention evaluation cycle shall be as described in R597-3-1(2)(c).
(4) Timing of evaluations within cycles. In order to allow judges time to incorporate feedback from midterm evaluations into their practices, no evaluations shall be conducted during the first four months of the retention cycle.
(1) General provisions.
(a) All surveys shall be conducted according to the evaluation cycles described in R597-3-1, supra.
The commission shall post on its website the survey questionnaires upon which the judge shall be evaluated at the beginning of the survey cycle.
c] ) The commission may select retention survey questions
from among the midterm survey questions.
d] ) Periodically, reviews may be conducted to ensure
compliance with administrative rules governing the survey
e] ) The commission may consider narrative survey comments
that cannot be reduced to a numerical score.
(2) Respondent Classifications
(i) Identification of survey respondents. Within 10 business days of the end of the evaluation cycle, the clerk for the judge or the Administrative Office of the Courts shall identify as potential respondents all attorneys who have appeared before the judge who is being evaluated at a minimum of one hearing or trial during the evaluation cycle. Attorneys who have been confirmed as judges during the evaluation cycle shall be excluded from the attorney pool.
(ii) Number of survey respondents.
(A) For each judge who is the subject of a survey, the surveyor shall identify the number of attorneys most likely to produce a response level yielding reliability at a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- 5%.
(B) In the event that the attorney appearance list from the Administrative Office of the Courts contains an insufficient number of attorneys with one trial appearance or at least three total appearances before the evaluated judge to achieve the required confidence level, then the surveyor shall supplement the survey pool with other attorneys who have appeared before the judge during the evaluation cycle.
(iii) Sampling. The surveyor shall design the survey to comply with generally-accepted principles of surveying. All attorneys with one trial appearance or at least three total appearances before the evaluated judge shall be surveyed.
(iv) Distribution of surveys. Surveys shall be distributed by the third-party contractor engaged by the commission to conduct the survey. The contractor shall determine the maximum number of survey requests sent to a single attorney based on an analysis of the Administrative Office of the Courts appearance data at the time of the survey. In no event shall any attorney receive more than nine survey requests.
(i) Identification and number of survey respondents. All jurors who participate in deliberation shall be eligible to receive an online juror survey.
(ii) Distribution of surveys. Prior to the jury being dismissed, the bailiff or clerk in charge of the jury shall collect email addresses from all jurors. If email addresses are not available, street addresses shall be collected. The bailiff or clerk shall transmit all such addresses to the surveyor within 24 hours of collection. The surveyor shall administer the survey online and deliver survey results electronically to each judge. Paper surveys may be sent to those jurors who do not have access to email.
(c) Court Staff
(i) Definition of court staff who have worked with the judge. Court staff who have worked with the judge refers to employees of the judiciary who have regular contact with the judge as the judge performs judicial duties and also includes those who are not employed by the judiciary but who have ongoing administrative duties in the courtroom.
(ii) Identification of survey respondents. Court staff who have worked with the judge include, but are not limited to:
(A) judicial assistants;
(B) case managers;
(C) clerks of court;
(D) trial court executives;
(G) law clerks;
(H) central staff attorneys;
(I) juvenile probation and intake officers;
(J) other courthouse staff, as appropriate;
(K) Administrative Office of the Courts staff.
(f) Juvenile Court Professionals
(i) Definition of juvenile court professional. A juvenile court professional is someone whose professional duties place that individual in court on a regular and continuing basis to provide substantive input to the court.
(ii) Identification of survey respondents. Juvenile court professionals shall include, where applicable:
(A) Division of Child and Family Services ("DCFS") child protection services workers;
(B) Division of Child and Family Services ("DCFS") case workers;
(C) Juvenile Justice Services ("JJS") Observation and Assessment Staff;
(D) Juvenile Justice Services ("JJS") case managers;
(E) Juvenile Justice Services ("JJS") secure care staff;
(F) Others who provide substantive professional services on a regular basis to the juvenile court.
(iii) Beginning with juvenile court judges standing for retention in 2014, juvenile court professionals shall be included as an additional survey respondent group for both the midterm and retention evaluation cycles.
(3) Anonymity and Confidentiality
(A) "Anonymous" means that the identity of the individual who authors any survey response, including comments, will be protected from disclosure.
(B) The independent contractor conducting the surveys shall provide to the commission all written comments from the surveys, redacted to remove any information that identifies the person commenting. The contractor shall also redact any information that discloses the identity of any crime victims referenced in a written comment.
(C) The submission of a survey form containing an anonymous narrative comment does not preclude any survey respondent from submitting a public comment in writing pursuant to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission Act.
(ii) Confidentiality: Confidentiality means information obtained from a survey respondent that the respondent may reasonably expect will not be disclosed other than as indicated in the survey instrument.
(iii) The raw form of survey results consists of all quantitative survey data that contributes to the minimum score on the judicial performance survey.
(iv) The summary form of survey results consists of quantitative survey data in aggregated form.
R597-3-3. Courtroom Observation.
(1) General Provisions.
(a) Courtroom observations shall be conducted according to the evaluation cycles described in R597-3-1(1) and (2), supra.
(b) The commission shall provide notice to each judge at the beginning of the survey cycle of the courtroom observation process and of the instrument to be used by the observers.
(c) Only the content analysis of the individual courtroom observation reports shall be included in the retention report for each judge.
(2) Courtroom Observers.
(a) Selection of Observers
(i) Courtroom observers shall be volunteers, recruited by the commission through public outreach and advertising.
(ii) Courtroom observers shall be selected by the commission staff, based on written applications and an interview process.
(b) Selection Criteria. Observers with a broad and varied range of life experiences shall be sought. The following persons shall be excluded from eligibility as courtroom observers:
(i) persons with a professional involvement with the state court system, the justice courts, or the judge;
(ii) persons with a fiduciary relationship with the judge;
(iii) persons within the third degree of relationship with a state or justice court judge (grandparents, parents or parents-in-law, aunts or uncles, children, nieces and nephews and their spouses);
(iv) persons lacking computer access or basic computer literacy skills;
(v) persons currently involved in litigation in state or justice courts;
(vi) convicted felons;
(vii) persons whose background or experience suggests they may have a bias that would prevent them from objectively serving in the program.
(c) Terms and Conditions of Service
(i) Courtroom observers shall serve at the will of the commission staff.
(ii) Courtroom observers shall commit to one one-year term of service.
(iii) Courtroom observers may serve up to three one-year terms, subject to annual renewal at the discretion of the commission.
(iv) Courtroom observers shall not disclose the content of their courtroom evaluations in any form or to any person except as designated by the commission.
(d) Training of Observers
(i) Courtroom observers must satisfactorily complete a training program developed by the commission before engaging in courtroom observation.
(ii) Elements of the training program shall include:
(A) Orientation and overview of the commission process and the courtroom observation program;
(B) Classroom training addressing each level of court;
(C) In-court group observations, with subsequent classroom discussions, for each level of court;
(D) Training on proper use of observation instrument;
(E) Training on confidentiality and non-disclosure issues;
(F) Such other periodic trainings as are necessary for effective observations.
(3) Courtroom Observation Program.
(a) Courtroom Requirements
(i) During each midterm and retention evaluation cycle, a minimum of four different observers shall observe each judge subject to that evaluation cycle.
(ii) Each observer shall observe each judge in person while the judge is in the courtroom and for a minimum of two hours while court is in session. The observations may be completed in one sitting or over several courtroom visits.
(iii) If a judge sits in more than one geographic location at the judge's appointed level or a justice court judge serves in more than one jurisdiction, the judge may be observed in any location or combination of locations in which the judge holds court.
(iv) When the observer completes the observation of a judge, the observer shall complete the observation instrument, which will be electronically transferred to the commission or the third party contractor for processing.
(b) Travel and Reimbursement
(i) All travel must be preapproved by the executive director.
(ii) All per diem and lodging will be reimbursed, when appropriate, in accordance with Utah state travel rules and regulations.
(iii) Travel reimbursement forms shall be submitted on a monthly basis or whenever the observer has accumulated a minimum of 200 miles of travel.
(iv) Travel may be reimbursed only after the observer has satisfactorily completed and successfully submitted the courtroom observation report for which the reimbursement is sought.
(v) Overnight lodging
(A) Overnight lodging is reimbursable when the courtroom is located over 100 miles from home base and court is scheduled to begin before 9:30 a.m., with any exceptions preapproved by commission staff.
(B) Multiple overnight lodging is reimbursable where the commission staff determines it is cost-effective to observe several courtrooms in a single trip.
(v) Each courtroom observer must provide a social security number or tax identification number to the commission in order to process state reimbursement.
(4) Principles and Standards used to evaluate the behavior observed.
(a) Procedural fairness, which focuses on the treatment judges accord people in their courts, shall be used to evaluate the judicial behavior observed in the courtroom observation program.
(b) To assess a judge's conduct in court with respect to procedural fairness, observers shall respond in narrative form to the following principles and behavioral standards:
(i) Neutrality, including but not limited to:
(A) displaying fairness and impartiality toward all court participants;
(B) acting as a fair and principled decision maker who applies rules consistently across court participants and cases;
(C) explaining transparently and openly how rules are applied and how decisions are reached.
(D) listening carefully and impartially;
(ii) Respect, including but not limited to:
(A) demonstrating courtesy toward attorneys, court staff, and others in the court;
(B) treating all people with dignity;
(C) helping interested parties understand decisions and what the parties must do as a result;
(D) maintaining decorum in the courtroom.
(E) demonstrating adequate preparation to hear scheduled cases;
(F) acting in the interests of the parties, not out of demonstrated personal prejudices;
(G) managing the caseflow efficiently and demonstrating awareness of the effect of delay on court participants;
(H) demonstrating interest in the needs, problems, and concerns of court participants.
(iii) Voice, including but not limited to:
(A) giving parties the opportunity, where appropriate, to give voice to their perspectives or situations and demonstrating that they have been heard;
(B) behaving in a manner that demonstrates full consideration of the case as presented through witnesses, arguments, pleadings, and other documents.
(C) attending, where appropriate, to the participants' comprehension of the proceedings.
(c) Courtroom observers may also be asked questions to help the commission assess the overall performance of the judge with respect to procedural fairness.
R597-3-4. Minimum Performance Standards.
(1) In addition to the minimum performance standards specified by statute or administrative rule, the judge shall:
(a) Demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence, based on courtroom observations and relevant survey responses, that the judge's conduct in court promotes procedural fairness for court participants.
(b) Meet all performance standards established by the Judicial Council, including but not limited to:
(i) annual judicial education hourly requirement;
(ii) case-under-advisement standard; and
(iii) physical and mental competence to hold office.
(2) No later than October 1st of the year preceding each general election year, the Judicial Council shall certify to the commission whether each judge standing for retention election in the next general election has satisfied its performance standards.
R597-3-5. Public Comments.
(1) Persons desiring to comment about a particular judge with whom they have had first-hand experience may do so at any time, either by submitting such comments on the commission website or by mailing them to the executive director.
(2) In order for the commission to consider comments in making its retention recommendation on a particular judge, comments about that judge must be received no later than November 1st of the year preceding the election in which the judge's name appears on the ballot.
(3) Persons submitting comments pursuant to this section must include their full name, address, and telephone number with the submission.
(4) All comments must be based upon first-hand experience with the judge.
KEY: judicial performance evaluations, judges, evaluation cycles, surveys
Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [
November 16, 2012]
Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 78A-12
The Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the Bulletin is the official version. The PDF version of this issue is available at https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/bull-pdf/2013/b20130401.pdf. The HTML edition of the Bulletin is a convenience copy. Any discrepancy between the PDF version and HTML version is resolved in favor of the PDF version.
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For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Joanne Slotnik at the above address, by phone at 801-538-1652, by FAX at 801-538-1024, or by Internet E-mail at email@example.com.