About

Mission

The New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) was created to:

  1. improve the performance of judges; and

  2. provide useful, credible information to voters on all judges standing for retention during elections. Under New Mexico law, a judge standing for retention must receive 57% voter approval to remain on the bench.

History of JPEC

1988

New Mexico voters approve a constitutional amendment adopting a merit selection process for nominating appellate, district and metropolitan court judges. This amendment requires Judges who have previously been elected in a partisan election to stand for retention in order to retain their office.

1990

Supreme Court Judicial Planning Committee recommends taking steps to create a Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee. A Judicial Planning Committee is formed.

1991

Working through a subcommittee chaired by Judge Joseph Alarid of the New Mexico Court of Appeals, the Judicial Planning Committee recommends establishing a pilot program for judicial evaluation along the lines of a Colorado program.

1995

After trying to get funding for several years, the Administrative Office of the Courts receives money from the New Mexico Legislature to set up a pilot program to evaluate the judicial performance of district judges in the Third Judicial District (Doña Ana County) and in the Ninth Judicial District (Curry and Roosevelt Counties).

1997

In January, the final report on the pilot study was submitted, and the Commission decided that statewide implementation of a judicial evaluation program for district and metropolitan court judges was desirable and feasible. In February, the Supreme Court entered an Order establishing a permanent, statewide Judicial Performance Evaluation Program to evaluate the performance of district and metropolitan court judges who are subject to periodic retention elections and to develop and conduct an experimental program to evaluate the performance of judges and justices of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

1999

On April 28, 1999, the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) issued its Appellate Judicial Performance Evaluation Pilot Study Report to the Supreme Court, recommending implementation of an appellate judicial performance evaluation program. Later that same year, the original Supreme Court order was amended to include a statewide appellate judicial performance evaluation program.

2000-2016

Due to continuing concern over the impact of crime and the growth of criminal and civil litigation, public attention has increasingly focused upon the operation of the courts and judicial performance. Public perception of the judiciary as a whole sometimes is colored by the results in a few high profile cases.

Because of the large number of judges who appear on the retention ballot, it is increasingly difficult for individual voters, who are often without adequate or specific information, to make informed decision concerning the performance of individual judges. That is why the JPEC takes seriously its role of providing information on judges standing for retention to the public prior to an election.

Since it was formally established and fully authorized, the JPEC has issued evaluations on hundreds of justices and judges standing for retention at the statewide, district and county levels.

The 2016 election year marks the 10th official election in which the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission has made recommendations to voters on whether to retain judges and justices standing for retention.

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