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Deadline nears for Clark County lawyers to rate judges in RJ poll

Less than a week remains for Clark County lawyers to rate judges in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Judicial Performance Evaluation.

The deadline for completed surveys is Friday. The Review-Journal last conducted the anonymous poll in 2013.

This is the 13th time since 1992 that the newspaper has invited Clark County lawyers to evaluate judges. This year’s survey looks at 89 judges, including Nevada Supreme Court justices. Newly appointed judges were excluded.

Results — which will be published this fall — stand to provide voters with a wealth of information about judges, who can be tough to assess.

Executive Editor Glenn Cook said the survey is returning because all of the county’s District Court and Family Court races will be on the ballot in 2020.

“Voters need all the information they can get on judicial races,” Cook said. “Deciding dozens of judgeships is a daunting challenge for even the most dedicated voter. Our survey has a strong track record of rating judicial performance, especially when it comes to identifying poor judges.”

Confidential personal identification numbers and passwords for the online survey have been mailed to more than 5,000 lawyers across the valley. The Review-Journal will neither know nor disclose the identities of participants.

Email reminders also have been sent to lawyers.

Cook said the fall publication of results is intended to give attorneys adequate time before the candidate filing period to decide whether they want to challenge specific judges.

Rebecca Gill, the UNLV professor who is directing the project, said the survey does not include political or issue-related questions. Instead, it asks lawyers who have case-related experience with judges about those judges’ ability to manage the courtroom or make reasonable decisions about the law, weighing those answers against judicial performance standards.

She noted that the survey questions were reworded this year to combat bias, specifically for female judges or judges of color. They ask about a judge’s actions instead of his or her personality characteristics to avoid stereotypical answers.

“I think we’re taking a really scientific and careful approach this time to make sure that we can provide one more piece of information to the voters as they’re making their decision,” Gill said.

The Review-Journal is partnering with the Women’s Research Institute of Nevada, which Gill heads, and the UNLV Cannon Survey Center to process the results.

Questions about survey procedures, methods or PINs may be directed to project manager Nancy Downey of Downey Research Consultants at nancy@downeyresearch.com.

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