Clark County lawyers think voters should give the boot to 12 of the 90 judges they rated in the 2013 Judicial Performance Evaluation, including five in Family Court.
This is the 12th time the Las Vegas Review-Journal has sponsored the survey since 1992.
“Over the years, the survey has been regarded as a thorough and objective analysis of judicial performance,” Editor Michael Hengel said. “We think it is a helpful tool for voters who otherwise would have a tough task assessing the job judges do.”
In 2011, the last year the survey was conducted, lawyers wanted to fire eight of the 90 judges they evaluated. Six of those judges made repeat appearances on the “do not retain” list this year. The other two have stepped down.
The Review-Journal is publishing stories about select findings of the 2013 survey today, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Complete results will be posted on the newspaper’s website at www.reviewjournal.com.
The formal filing period for 2014 judicial candidates begins Jan. 6. The primary election is June 10, and the general election is Nov. 4.
Evaluated in this year’s survey were Nevada Supreme Court justices, Clark County district judges, Clark County Family Court judges, and justices of the peace and municipal judges in Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas.
The Review-Journal contracted with Downey Research Consultants, a social research consulting firm in Northern Nevada, to conduct the survey online.
Confidential security code numbers and passwords were mailed to 4,718 lawyers this summer. The mailing list was provided by the State Bar of Nevada and consisted of all attorneys and judges living in Clark County who were on active status.
Lawyers were instructed to rate only the judges with whom they had “personal, case-related experience.”
Respondents had until Aug. 12 to access the survey site. The data were collected by the Cannon Survey Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and forwarded to Downey for analysis.
In all, 902 respondents completed evaluation ballots, up from 872 in 2011. The overall rate of return for this year’s survey was 19 percent, the same as in 2011.
Nancy Downey, owner of Downey Research, said that rate increases to about 38 percent when based on a “conservative estimate” for the number of qualified participants.
“That’s a good response rate for a survey of this nature,” she said.
Participants rated judges as “more than adequate,” “adequate,” or “less than adequate” on up to 12 traits believed to characterize good judges.
They also had the chance to write anonymous comments, which are passed along to the judges unedited.
In addition, the lawyers were asked whether they would recommend each judge for retention. For 12 of the judges rated this year, more than 50 percent of the respondents said they would not.
At least one of those judges has said she does not intend to seek re-election.
The rating criteria were selected, worded and refined in the 1990s by a joint committee of attorneys, judges and journalists.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710. Follow @CarriGeer on Twitter.