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Judicial Branch, State of New Hampshire

Laura Kiernan
Communications Director
603-271-2646 ext 2359

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2012 Judicial Performance Evaluation Report Completed

New Advisory Committee Established to Enhance Program


July 17, 2012--The 2012 report to the Governor and legislative leadership on judicial performance evaluations, including the results of the most recent electronic survey on the performance of the Supreme Court, is now available on the Judicial Branch website.

Chief Justice Linda Stewart Dalianis also announced today that the Supreme Court has adopted a court rule to establish a "Judicial Performance Evaluation Advisory Committee" to advise the court about the ongoing design and implementation of the judicial performance evaluation program. The Supreme Court action, taken in an order issued today, follows changes to the judicial performance evaluation program, in the form of amendments to RSA 490:32, adopted during the 2012 legislative session (HB 344-FN) effective July 22, 2012. The amended statute requires the Supreme Court to consult with administrative judges and with other "non-judicial officers" about the design and implementation of the judicial performance evaluation program. The legislation and court rule issued today also provide that, for the first time, judges who were evaluated will be identified in the annual report and a summary included of the evaluation results and any corrective action taken.

"The Judicial Branch is committed to making its judicial evaluation program as transparent and useful to the public as possible. We are pleased to work cooperatively with the legislature and others in this effort," Chief Justice Dalianis said.

Under the current judicial performance evaluation program, all trial court judges are evaluated at least once every three years; the Supreme Court justices evaluate each other annually and distribute judicial performance evaluation questionnaires about the court's performance every three years.

The electronic survey program used by the Supreme Court, first implemented in 2008, was developed with guidance from the Denver-based Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, which has led a nationwide effort to improve judicial accountability. Responses to the electronic surveys about the Supreme Court's performance from attorneys, judges and marital masters were automatically compiled by the survey program, under the supervision of the Administrative Office of the Courts. Because their e-mail addresses were not available, surveys were mailed to a sample of self-represented litigants who brought their cases to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court instituted a revised judicial performance evaluation program for the entire Judicial Branch in 2001, and the results for each year are reported to the Governor and legislative leadership.