Evaluation Process

The JPEC conducts evaluations of judges and justices twice whenever possible:

  1. midway through a judge's term in office for the purpose of improving his or her performance. Midterm evaluations are not released to the public; and

  2. before a retention election for the purpose of providing information to voters. The results of these evaluations are made available to the public at least 45 days before the retention election.

Evaluations are performed through:

  • Confidential written surveys – We work with an independent research firm to develop and disseminate confidential written surveys to those individuals and professionals who have worked with or come in contact with the justice or judge being evaluated.

  • Courtroom observations – Based on established criteria and as resources permit, some judges are evaluated on an unscheduled basis during their active courtroom proceedings by impartial observers  in order to assess their performance and management of their courtroom.

  • Personal interviews with each judge/justice being evaluated – During confidential interviews, we share the results of the surveys with the justice or judge being evaluated. We also review their self-assessment of performance.

Following the interview, self-assessment and review of the survey results, the JPEC completes a draft recommendation of:

  • Retain – recommend voting to retain judge

  • Do not retain – recommend voting against retaining judge

  • No opinion – The results of the information gathered are insufficient to make a recommendation because, as required under Commission rules, eight members were unable to agree on a recommendation of Retain or Do Not Retain.

  • Insufficient Time to Evaluate (new for 2022) – JPEC could not conduct an evaluation and make a recommendation to voters because of the time frame of the evaluation, the rules governing JPEC's evaluation process, and New Mexico legislation on judicial retention terms.

The draft evaluation is then sent to the judge or justice to review and comment on the biographical information in the narrative.

Once the JPEC receives and reviews the judge's or justice's changes to the biographical information, it is revised if necessary, then finalized and included in the overall evaluation report.

The report is disseminated in a number of ways, including:

  • Through the JPEC website.

  • Through a Report to Voters that is published on the JPEC website and in full or in part in newspapers throughout the state.

  • Through paid traditional and digital advertising.

  • Through publicity.

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