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Methods of Judicial Selection: Utah

Retention Evaluation Programs

Utah's performance evaluation program was initiated in 1986 to provide the public with the necessary information to make informed decisions in judicial retention elections and to provide judges with information for self improvement. For more than 20 years, the judicial council administered the program, but in 2008, the judicial performance evaluation commission was created. The thirteen-member commission includes both lawyers and nonlawyers appointed by legislative leaders, the governor, and the supreme court.

Performance evaluations are conducted every two years. Evaluations are based on surveys of attorneys who have appeared before the judge during the previous two years. Attorneys are asked to rate judges on a variety of criteria and to indicate whether the judge should be retained. Since 1997, evaluations of district court judges have also included surveys of jurors who appeared before the judge. Jurors are asked several yes/no questions. Based on survey results, the commission determines whether judges meet performance standards. The commission sends its recommendations regarding judges standing for retention to the lieutenant governor for inclusion in the voter information pamphlet. Information gathered for judicial self improvement is not made public. Click here to view supreme court rules regarding judicial performance evaluation.

For more information about Utah's judicial performance evaluation program, see Judicial Retention Evaluation Programs in Four States.