Hoping to boost participation this year from government lawyers, the D.C. Bar Judicial Evaluation Committee has announced the beginning of its annual survey of District of Columbia judges.
This year's survey – January 11 is the last day lawyers can submit comment – covers nine judges on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and 23 judges on the District of Columbia Superior Court. The committee evaluates judges on the two courts in their 2nd, 6th, 10th and 13th years on the bench, or at the halfway point for senior judges serving four- or two-year terms.
Feedback from lawyers is needed to support the city's merit-based process for picking and reappointing judges, said local attorney Steven Berk, who chairs the judicial evaluations committee. "If you're going to appoint judges and reappoint by merit, you need some mechanism to evaluate them," he said.
The evaluated judge and the chief judge of his or her court get a copy of the survey results. For judges in their 6th, 10th and 13th year, a copy is also sent to the District of Columbia Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure, the local group responsible for formally reviewing judges up for reappointment.
Berk said the committee is focusing this year on increasing the number of government lawyers who fill out surveys. He said they've been reaching out to the U.S. attorney's office and the D.C. Office of the Attorney General, which each house several hundred lawyers, and have been encouraged by the positive feedback.
"We think it'll add significantly to the people who will respond," Berk said.
Included in this year's survey from the D.C. Court of Appeals are Associate Judges Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Stephen Glickman and Phyllis Thompson; Senior Judges James Belson, Warren King, Frank Nebeker, Inez Smith Reid and John Steadman; and Chief Judge Eric Washington.
D.C. Superior Court judges included in the survey are Associate Judges Jennifer Anderson, Ronna Lee Beck, Jeanette Clark, Marisa Demeo, Todd Edelman, Wendell Gardner Jr., Milton Lee Jr., Stuart Nash, Hiram Puig-Lugo, Maribeth Raffinan, Robert Richter, Robert Rigsby and Judith Smith; and Senior Judges Geoffrey Alprin, Bruce Beaudin, Kaye Christian, Stephen Eilperin, Brook Hedge, John Hess, Bruce Mencer, Gregory Mize, Judith Retchin and Patricia Wynn.
Attorneys can send in a survey if they appeared before judges up for evaluation any time between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012. Lawyers who participate are kept anonymous, according to the committee.