The Ideal Judge: How Implicit Bias Shapes Assessment of State Judges

30 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2016

See all articles by Rebecca D. Gill

Rebecca D. Gill

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Rafael Oganesyan

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Date Written: April 1, 2015

Abstract

Judicial Performance Evaluation (JPE) is generally seen as an important part of the merit system, which often suffers from a lack of relevant voter information. Utah's JPE system has undergone significant change in recent years. Using data from the two most recent JPE surveys, we provide a preliminary look at the operation of this new system. Our results suggest that the survey component has difficulty distinguishing among the judges on the basis of relevant criteria. The question prompts intended to measure performance on different ABA Categories are also indistinguishable. We also find evidence that, on some measures, female judges do disproportionately worse than male judges. We suggest that the free response comments and the new Court Observation Program results may improve the ability of the commission to make meaningful distinctions among the judges on the basis of appropriate criteria.

Keywords: judicial performance evaluation, state courts, retention elections

Suggested Citation

Gill, Rebecca D. and Oganesyan, Rafael, The Ideal Judge: How Implicit Bias Shapes Assessment of State Judges (April 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2766084 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2766084

Rebecca D. Gill (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas ( email )

4505 S. Maryland Pkwy. Box 455029
Las Vegas, NV NV 89154
United States
7028952525 (Phone)
7028951065 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rebeccagill.net

Rafael Oganesyan

University of Nevada, Las Vegas ( email )

4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

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