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H.B. 309





Chief Sponsor: V. Lowry Snow

Senate Sponsor: Stephen H. Urquhart

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill clarifies when a judge may appear before the Judicial Performance Evaluation
             10      Commission.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    clarifies the conditions when a judge may appear before the Judicial Performance
             14      Evaluation Commission.
             15      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             16          None
             17      Other Special Clauses:
             18          None
             19      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             20      AMENDS:
             21          78A-12-203, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2011, Chapter 80
             23      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             24          Section 1. Section 78A-12-203 is amended to read:
             25           78A-12-203. Judicial performance evaluations.
             26          (1) Beginning with the 2012 judicial retention elections, the commission shall prepare
             27      a performance evaluation for:

             28          (a) each judge in the third and fifth year of the judge's term if the judge is not a justice
             29      of the Supreme Court; and
             30          (b) each justice of the Supreme Court in the third, seventh, and ninth year of the
             31      justice's term.
             32          (2) Except as provided in Subsection (3), the performance evaluation for a judge under
             33      Subsection (1) shall consider only:
             34          (a) the results of the judge's most recent judicial performance survey that is conducted
             35      by a third party in accordance with Section 78A-12-204 ;
             36          (b) information concerning the judge's compliance with minimum performance
             37      standards established in accordance with Section 78A-12-205 ;
             38          (c) courtroom observation;
             39          (d) the judge's judicial disciplinary record, if any;
             40          (e) public comment solicited by the commission;
             41          (f) information from an earlier judicial performance evaluation concerning the judge;
             42      and
             43          (g) any other factor that the commission:
             44          (i) considers relevant to evaluating the judge's performance for the purpose of a
             45      retention election; and
             46          (ii) establishes by rule.
             47          (3) The commission shall make rules concerning the conduct of courtroom observation
             48      under Subsection (2), which shall include the following:
             49          (a) an indication of who may perform the courtroom observation;
             50          (b) a determination of whether the courtroom observation shall be made in person or
             51      may be made by electronic means; and
             52          (c) a list of principles and standards used to evaluate the behavior observed.
             53          (4) (a) As part of the evaluation conducted under this section, the commission shall
             54      determine whether to recommend that the voters retain the judge.
             55          (b) (i) If a judge meets the minimum performance standards established in accordance
             56      with Section 78A-12-205 , there is a rebuttable presumption that the commission will
             57      recommend the voters retain the judge.
             58          (ii) If a judge fails to meet the minimum performance standards established in

             59      accordance with Section 78A-12-205 , there is a rebuttable presumption that the commission
             60      will recommend the voters not retain the judge.
             61          (c) The commission may elect to make no recommendation on whether the voters
             62      should retain a judge if the commission determines that the information concerning the judge is
             63      insufficient to make a recommendation.
             64          (d) (i) If the commission deviates from a presumption for or against recommending the
             65      voters retain a judge or elects to make no recommendation on whether the voters should retain
             66      a judge, the commission shall provide a detailed explanation of the reason for that deviation or
             67      election in the commission's report under Section 78A-12-206 .
             68          (ii) If the commission makes no recommendation because of a tie vote, the commission
             69      shall note that fact in the commission's report.
             70          [(5) (a) Before considering the judicial performance evaluation of any judge, the
             71      commission shall notify the judge of the date and time of any commission meeting during
             72      which the judge's judicial performance evaluation will be considered.]
             73          [(b)] (5) (a) The commission shall allow a judge who is the subject of a judicial
             74      performance retention evaluation and who has not passed any minimum performance standard
             75      on the midterm evaluation or on the retention evaluation to appear and speak at any
             76      commission meeting, except a closed meeting, during which the judge's judicial performance
             77      evaluation is considered.
             78          (b) The commission may invite any judge to appear before the commission to discuss
             79      concerns about the judge's judicial performance.
             80          (c) The commission may meet in a closed meeting to discuss a judge's judicial
             81      performance evaluation by complying with Title 52, Chapter 4, Open and Public Meetings Act.
             82          (d) Any record of an individual commissioner's vote on whether or not to recommend
             83      that the voters retain a judge is a protected record under Title 63G, Chapter 2, Government
             84      Records Access and Management Act.
             85          (e) The commission may only disclose the final commission vote on whether or not to
             86      recommend that the voters retain a judge.
             87          (6) (a) The commission shall compile a midterm report of its judicial performance
             88      evaluation of a judge.
             89          (b) The midterm report of a judicial performance evaluation shall include information

             90      that the commission considers appropriate for purposes of judicial self-improvement.
             91          (c) The report shall be provided to the evaluated judge and the presiding judge of the
             92      district in which the evaluated judge serves. If the evaluated judge is the presiding judge, the
             93      midterm report shall be provided to the chair of the board of judges for the court level on which
             94      the evaluated judge serves.
             95          (7) The commission may make rules in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah
             96      Administrative Rulemaking Act, as necessary to administer the evaluation required by this
             97      section.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 1-17-13 9:36 AM

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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