The Johnson County Bar Association, an organization comprised of about 1,400 attorneys and judges practicing in the county and surrounding area, has released the results of its 2020 Judicial Evaluations for judges on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
The results indicate the level of support from local attorneys for the retention of 13 judges for the Kansas Supreme Court, Kansas Court of Appeals and Johnson County District Court (the 10th Judicial District of Kansas).
The association provides this survey data for voters “for voters to assess the performance of Kansas court judges, particularly those up for retention in November’s general election,” the association said. Judges are appointed through the nonpartisan merit selection process, instead of through partisan elections, so they cannot participate in any political campaign.
“This means voters have very little information with which to evaluate a judge sitting for retention,” the association noted in its announcement.
Katie McClaflin, past president of the association and chair of the judicial evaluation committee said that a fair and impartial court system “requires judges who are knowledgeable, professional and willing to listen to the facts of each case and apply the law.”
“The lawyers who appear before these judges are well positioned to help voters make informed decisions about each judge’s legal qualifications,” McClaflin said. “By providing this mechanism for voters to evaluate judges for retention, JCBA continues its commitment to creating awareness of issues of importance to the community.”
The association sent the survey to more than 4,000 attorneys with registered offices in Johnson County. Attorneys provided anonymous evaluations of judges before whom they had appeared in court in the past two years.
The association reported that, based on the number of survey responses, the results “exceeded research industry standards for a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error.”