ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) today released its recommendations to voters on one New Mexico Supreme Court justice and two New Mexico Court of Appeals judges standing for retention statewide. Under the New Mexico State Constitution, these appellate judges must receive at least 57 percent voter approval to remain on the bench.
This year, JPEC’s recommendations to voters statewide are:
- Retain Honorable Richard C. Bosson, New Mexico Supreme Court
- Retain Honorable Roderick T. Kennedy, New Mexico Court of Appeals
- Retain Honorable Michael Vigil, New Mexico Court of Appeals
“Voters are urged to read the evaluations in order to know more about their judges’ performances before they go to the polls this November. There is no better source of unbiased information on whether each judge is rendering fair, efficient and impartial justice,” said Denise Torres, chair of the JPEC.
The JPEC, which is comprised of seven lawyers and eight non-lawyers, has been evaluating judges standing for retention and providing information to voters since 1997.
Judges are evaluated in four main areas:1) fairness; 2) legal knowledge; 3) communication skills; and 4) preparation, attentiveness, temperament and control over the proceedings.
To prepare its evaluations, the JPEC reviews information from several sources: written opinions, caseload statistics, interviews, judges’ self-evaluations, and independent surveys among attorneys, court staff (including law clerks), trial court judges, and fellow appellate judges. The results of confidential mid-term surveys from past years are also reviewed.Evaluations are based on the overall performance of the justice or judge instead of focusing on specific decisions or opinions.
“Our retention recommendations are not intended to imply that every judge received excellent or perfect marks from all groups surveyed. Instead, they indicate that their overall ratings were sufficient to recommend retention and that they responded positively to suggestions for improvement based on past confidential mid-term evaluations,” Torres said.
James Hall, a former District Court judge and vice chair of JPEC added, “Because all three individuals we evaluated this year are appellate judges, most voters will not have come into contact with any of them and will otherwise not have any information on which to base their decision. Our hope is that everyone eligible will vote in these very important elections, and will base their vote on the information we are making available.”
JPEC has posted evaluations in English and Spanish on its website, www.nmjpec.org, and will also distribute information to voters statewide through printed brochures by calling the Administrative Office of the Courts at (505) 827-4960.
Absentee voting begins Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012; early voting begins Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012; and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
“We encourage each and every voter throughout the state of New Mexico to participate on Election Day by voting in all races and ballot measures, including the judicial retention elections,” Torres concluded.
In 1997, The New Mexico Supreme Court created the nonprofit, nonpartisan volunteer New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) to help justices and judges improve their performance on the bench and provide useful, credible information to voters on judges and justices standing for retention so they can make an informed decision. JPEC is made of volunteer members that include lawyers and non-lawyers from throughout New Mexico.