SEATTLE -- A new survey of attorneys by the King County Bar Association gives positive evaluations to the majority of judges serving on King County district and municipal courts. Results show that 53% of attorneys gave judges high marks as "very good" or "excellent."
"A well-respected judiciary ensures that all citizens can count on a fair and just decision when they appear in court," said Anne M. Daly, KCBA President. "The 2014 survey results confirm our perception that, as a general rule, local judges are serving our community well."
KCBA has evaluated and rated judicial performance since 1948 through surveys, ratings, and candidate forums. The survey is conducted every four years for county district and municipal courts, with another survey for superior courts on an alternating four year schedule. Improvements to the past survey process were recently made including the creation of a strong oversight committee of government prosecutors, public defenders, private attorneys, and retired judges, as well as additional controls on data confidentiality. The survey represents practicing attorneys’ subjective assessments of the judges who heard and decided their clients' cases.
The 2014 Judicial Officer Survey was conducted from November 12 to December 4, 2013, and sent to over 3,700 attorneys who appeared before municipal and county district courts from 2010-2013, based on records provided by the courts. 340 surveys were completed for a 9% response rate. Seventy percent of all respondents have 10 or more years of experience, with 67% of respondents having appeared before the judge they reviewed 4 or more times, allowing for multiple observations of the judge's performance. A complete copy of the KCBA survey findings is available at www.kcba.org/judicialsurvey.
KCBA's survey focused upon behavior-based measures for the judges. Criteria included legal decision-making such as applying rules of evidence; demeanor and temperament; administrative skills such as maintaining order in the courtroom; and integrity and impartiality.
Founded in 1886, KCBA is the largest voluntary bar association in the state of Washington, representing over 14,000 attorneys in King County including attorneys, judges, and law professors. Its mission is to support its diverse membership by promoting a just, collegial, and accessible legal system and profession; to work with the judiciary to achieve excellence in the administration of justice; and to serve the local community through organized pro bono legal services.