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NCJ Number: 50408 Find in a Library
Title: EVALUATING JUDGES - HOW SHOULD THE BAR DO IT?
Journal: JUDICATURE  Volume:61  Issue:7  Dated:(FEBRUARY 1978)  Pages:304-310
Author(s): S FLANDERS
Corporate Author: American Judicature Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: American Judicature Soc
Chicago, IL 60601-7401
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: TECHNICAL PROBLEMS WITH BAR ASSOCIATION POLLS EVALUATING JUDGES ARE POINTED OUT, AND A JOURNALISTIC APPROACH TO PROFILING JUDGES IS SUGGESTED AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO POLLS.
Abstract: BAR ASSOCIATION POLLS -- SURVEYS OF LAWYERS' OPINIONS ABOUT JUDGES -- HAVE BEEN HAMPERED PRIMARILY BY LOW RESPONSE RATES. THE QUESTIONNAIRES USUALLY ARE TIME-CONSUMING. IN ADDITION, MANY LAWYERS CANNOT OR WILL NOT RESPOND TO MOST OF THE QUESTIONS. SOLUTIONS TO THE NONRESPONSE PROBLEM HAVE BEEN EITHER TO CLAIM THAT A REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE IS UNIMPORTANT, OR TO TARGET A SMALL RANDOM SAMPLE AND PRESSURE QUESTIONNAIRE RECIPIENTS FOR RESPONSES. NEITHER SOLUTION SUFFICES. OTHER PROBLEMS WITH SURVEYS HAVE BEEN A TENDENCY TO BASE RESPONSES ON HEARSAY, AND DIFFICULTIES IN OBTAINING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FROM CONSULTANTS. IN LIGHT OF SUCH PROBLEMS, A LESS FORMAL, JOURNALISTIC APPROACH TO EVALUATING JUDGES SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO POLLS AND THEIR SPURIOUS SCIENTIFIC CLAIMS. BAR ASSOCIATIONS COULD FOLLOW THE LEAD OF A MAGAZINE REPORTER WHO WROTE INFORMAL PROFILES OF THE FEDERAL JUDGES FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA. THE PROFILES COMMENTED ON THE TEMPERAMENT AND ABILITIES OF THE JUDGES, DRAWING ON IMPRESSIONS GAINED IN INTERVIEWS WITH LAWYERS. GIVEN THE TECHNICAL SHORTCOMINGS OF POLLS, SUCH AN APPROACH TO THE EVALUATION OF JUDGES -- BASED ON RECORDED CHANCE IMPRESSIONS GATHERED AS THOROUGHLY AS POSSIBLE -- WOULD BE AN IMPROVEMENT. THREE OF THE REPORTER'S PROFILES ARE QUOTED. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Attorneys; Judges; Surveys
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