Maryland is Ripe for Judicial Performance Evaluation
Despite having some of the longest judicial terms in the country, Maryland does not have a program in place to evaluate the performance of its state judges. Coupled with recent allegations of misconduct and misapplication of law coming out of the state's courts, state watchdogs are sounding the alarm regarding the need to establish such a program. The Baltimore Sun is following the situation and including IAALS’ work in its coverage.
As IAALS has found, 17 states and the District of Columbia do evaluate their judges. Of those, six states post their programs' evaluations for the public to read. Some states may publish only summaries of the evaluations, while others keep the evaluations private, providing them to the judges themselves or whoever appoints the state's judges.
IAALS has also found that judges are not threatened by evaluation programs. To the contrary, judges tend to view them as an effective means to improve their own performance on the bench.
With many robust and effective programs in place around the country, Maryland would be in good company by instituting judicial performance evaluations.
Heather Buchanan is a second-year law student at the University of Colorado Law School and contributes to IAALS Online. Please direct inquiries about this post to firstname.lastname@example.org.