CHEYENNE – The Wyoming State Bar has released the results of this year's Judicial Advisory Poll.
The Bar Association, in collaboration with the University of Wyoming's Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center, is conducting this survey to not only get attorney feedback on judges' performance, but also to see if attorneys believe they should be retained standing judges should remain in office.
Wyoming judges are appointed through a process whereby the Judicial Nominating Commission reviews applicants before recommending three qualified candidates to the governor. The governor then makes his selection from these three candidates. Both lawyers and non-lawyers are members of the nomination committee.
The five justices of the Wyoming Supreme Court must stand for retention every eight years. This means that in every general election the voters vote and decide whether the judges standing for retention should remain in office.
Wyoming district judges stand to keep the vote every six years, and district court judges are sentenced to keep the vote every four years. The survey only includes the question of a judge's retention if that judge stands for retention in that particular year.
If the results of the general election indicate that a judge should not remain in office, the Judicial Nominating Commission would recruit applicants to fill the position.
All active members of the Wyoming State Bar were invited to take part in the survey. This year 42.5% of these members took part. In order to rate and comment on a judge's performance, a lawyer confirms to pollsters that he / she has actually appeared before that particular judge in the past two years. In the case of Supreme Court judges, ratings are also allowed after reading written statements from those judges.
The survey is NOT an inter-judge competition as different lawyers rate each judge. The survey is intended to help a judge identify areas for improvement.
The Wyoming State Bar conducted its first judicial rating survey in 1976 and has completed one every election year since. The objectives and uses of the survey are in accordance with the guidelines of the American Bar Association as well as the practices of other bar associations.
The Wyoming State Bar is made up of all attorneys licensed to practice law in Wyoming. The Wyoming State Bar is responsible for regulating legal practice, facilitating the provision of quality legal services to the public, and assisting attorneys in the exercise of law professionally.
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Sharon Wilkinson, executive director of the Wyoming State Bar at 307-432-2102.