2017: NEW MEMBER JOINS JUDICIAL EVALUATION GROUP

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New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission

CONTACT: Carmen Rodriguez, Administrative Office of the Courts
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 23, 2017

NEW MEMBER JOINS JUDICIAL EVALUATION GROUP

SANTA FE – Retired journalist Scott Sandlin has been named to the New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC), a bipartisan, 15-member organization created to improve judicial performance and to provide accurate, credible information to the public about judges standing in retention elections.

Judges must garner 57 percent approval ratings to remain on the bench.

Sandlin, who was nominated by Chief Justice Charles Daniels, is one of eight lay members on the commission. The constitutional amendment that created the commission in 1988 calls for seven members to be attorneys. The remainder are drawn from the public.

JPEC became fully operational in 1999, following completion of a pilot program in the Third Judicial District (Doña Ana County) and Ninth Judicial District (Curry and Roosevelt Counties) and the appropriation of funds by the Legislature. The commission meets monthly to conduct interviews and review surveys of judges' performance completed by lawyers, court staff, jurors and resource personnel such as police and probation officers.

Judges who are evaluated include those in Metropolitan Court in Albuquerque, district judges statewide, and judges on the New Mexico Court of Appeals and the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Sandlin is a University of New Mexico graduate who has worked on newspapers in Farmington, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. For over 27 years, she covered state and federal courts for the Albuquerque Journal.

"I hope my experience as a veteran court-watcher will prove useful to the commission," Sandlin said. "The courts do incredibly important work, but the public typically knows little about judges unless some controversy erupts. JPEC's public outreach provides fair and easily accessible information to voters before they vote on retaining judges."

Commissioners serve six-year terms and are volunteers.

Sandlin was named to complete three years remaining on the term of a commissioner who resigned.

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