AZ Merit Selection of Judges - A System That Works
Since 1974, Arizona voters have benefited from a judicial merit selection and retention process. Here is how it works. Nonpartisan commissions evaluate judicial applicants for the Governor's appointment. Then judges up for retention election in all appellate courts statewide and trial court judges in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties are evaluated by the Judicial Performance Review Commission (JPR,) who vote if whether a judge meets or does not meet judicial performance standards. Results of each JPR vote appear online and in the Secretary of State's Voter Pamphlet along with state Ballot Propositions.
On Friday, June 24, 2016, the Judicial Performance Review Commission (JPR,) voted that almost all judges up for retention election this November in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties and all appellate judges meet Judicial Performance Standards. A majority of the Commission voted that two judges do not meet standards (see below.) More than half of the JPR Commission are public citizens volunteers, including Metro Phoenix Leaguers Barbara Robertson and Care Lengel, while up to 6 attorneys and 6 judges also serve.
Vote Results on two 2016 Judges
Hon. Jo Lynn Gentry - Maricopa County - 14 Meets Standards; 17 Does Not Meet Standards
Hon. Carmine Cornelio - Pima County - 4 Meets Standards; 27 Does Not Meet Standards
In September, expect a complete JPR Result in the Arizona Secretary of State's printed Voter Guide on Ballot Propositions and Judges that is mailed to every home with a registered voter. Check back here for a link later!
LWV helped to craft and pass merit selection of judges and judicial performance review in Arizona. According to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, "After Merit Selection was enacted in 1974, I saw the changes over the years. It's been good for Arizona. We have excellent judges here. The merit selection system works well."
Elsewhere, outside money is influencing judges' elections