Judicial Administration & Evaluation
The Judicial Administration and Evaluation Committee has the responsibility of accepting specific assignments from the Board of Governors in areas regarding the judiciary. The committee prior to each legislative session reviews all legislation prefiled pertinent to the judiciary and makes recommendations either to the Board of Governors or the Legislation Committee.
The committee is concerned with obtaining and then retaining qualified judicial officers. Not only are the selection and retention processes monitored, but consideration is also given to making judicial offices more attractive to qualified attorneys.
The Judicial Administration and Evaluation Committee also assists the Florida Supreme Court in the Confidential Judicial feedback program. Trial and appellate court feedback forms and an example of how the confidential envelope should look are available in PDF format . Attorneys may also use online feedback forms.
The goal of the confidential feedback program is to provide a confidential means by which attorney members of The Florida Bar can communicate with appellate or trial court judges concerning their perceived specific strengths and weaknesses. Providing judges with confidential feedback, assists them with self-assessment and self-improvement. The voluntary, confidential feedback program for trial and appellate court judges began January 1, 1998.
Feedback may be provided in two ways; by filling out a form and mailing it to The Florida Bar or by completing feedback forms online at www.floridabar.org/JudicialFeedback.
On the trial court level, the court includes a Confidential Judicial Feedback Form and an envelope addressed to the judge in care of The Florida Bar when the court mails the Final Order ending the case to counsel of record. On the appellate court level, the clerk transmits the Confidential Judicial Feedback Form and associated instructions to all counsel of record who participated in the appeal at the time the appellate opinion is sent. Trial and appellate court feedback forms and an example of how the confidential envelope should look are available in PDF format .
There are separate forms for trial court judges and appellate court judges. Judges and attorneys can access the feedback form by going to www.floridabar.org/JudicialFeedback and following the prompts. Security is assured. To participate you need to have your Bar number and your Bar password. You can click on a prompt that will assist you in obtaining your Bar password.
All confidential feedback is confidential pursuant to Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.051(c)(4). The judge may communicate the substance of the feedback to the chief judge or to another judge for the purpose of peer input, but otherwise the feedback may not be disclosed to any other person.
The committee hopes that this program will provide judges with useful and accurate substantive input from attorneys practicing before them, and it requests the support of all judges and attorneys in ensuring its success. The committee continues its work in evaluating and fine turning these programs and exploring other means.
The committee also has a model judicial evaluation procedure to be used in the state which will include methods of evaluation broader than performance polls. It is the function of the committee to continually improve judicial performance.
Another function of the committee is to oversee the Merit Retention Poll Guidelines for District Court of Appeal Judges and Supreme Court Justices (Appellate Courts) retention program which is held every other year.
The Judicial Administration and Evaluation Committee developed The Florida Bar Judicial Candidate Voluntary Self-Disclosure Statement and The Florida Bar Board of Governors approved the program for implementation in 2010. It has since been used in the 2012 and 2014 elections and will next be used in the 2016 election year. These statements give judicial candidates an opportunity to directly inform the public of their qualifications for judicial office.
JAEC members developed the form after they saw confusion among both voters and the media about where to get reliable information about candidates for county and circuit court judgeships.
The statements, which are posted on the Bar’s website during the election season, allow judicial candidates to answer a variety of questions voters may wish to know about their backgrounds. The form asks trial court judicial candidates about their personal, professional and education history; areas in which they are certified; and experience in trials, mediations, arbitrations or administrative proceedings. Other questions cover their pro bono and public service work and their disciplinary history, if any, as a lawyer or judge.
The form includes a short essay question proposed by the Citizens Advisory Committee. It asks candidates, “In 100 words or less, without discussing any particular issue which may come before you if you become a judge, explain why you believe you would be a good judge.” Many of the questions on the form are similar to those asked of lawyers when they apply to a judicial nominating commission for a judicial vacancy.
For more information, contact Susannah Lyle at email@example.com.