Help in evaluating Utah judges

Should this judge be retained for another few years?  That is a question voters will see on their ballot this year. This is not a question of candidacy for the job, but seeks to get an answer whether or not a judge should be retained as a member of Utah’s judiciary. Many people may not know how to answer that question.

There is an organization in the state that wants to help. Their website is judges.utah.gov. The name of the organization is Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission or JPEC. Executive Director Jennifer Yim was a guest on KVNU’s For the People program on Monday.

She said, “I think these questions on the ballot are really important and they’re ones that voters sometimes feel like they don’t know how to answer because most of us, if we’re lucky, don’t find ourselves inside courtrooms very often.  So we have no idea how judges actually do their jobs. So JPEC was created by state law in 2008 to evaluate the performance of all Utah judges for the benefit of voters.

Yim says it is a 13-member commission, appointed by the three different branches of government. There are attorneys, non-attorneys, people who come from all walks of life. She says it’s a bi-partisan and very independent group. She says they do an evaluation of every judge before the retention election who will be on the ballot.

“Because this decision for voters is really a very important one. Voters are the only people who can decide whether a judge on their ballot will serve another term of office. For most judges that’s six more years; for a Supreme Court justice that’s 10 years. Big decisions.”

JPEC aims to improve the judiciary and through their website they also provide judges, themselves, with a mid-term evaluation to show perceptions of how they are doing their jobs and some areas of improvement.

AUDIO: Jennifer Yim talks  with Jason Williams on For the People 10/29/2018

 

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