With more than 50 people present yesterday, esteemed attorney James Moore moderated a forum about the Monroe County Bar Association’s role in the evaluation of judicial candidates. Following a brief presentation by Bryan Hetherington, Judicial Evaluation Task Force Chair, the floor was opened to questions and robust dialogue about all aspects of our process. Jim reminded everyone at the beginning that the MCBA’s commitment to judicial evaluations has been in existence for more than 30 years that he can recall. Bryan stated that the MCBA, per the Judiciary Committee Procedures, does have an obligation to do a periodic review of our process, with a commitment to ensuring it is the best it can be. Though by the end of the forum, it was acknowledged by many that there is no perfect system.
Bryan reviewed the work of the Task Force, and described their extensive work over the past two years in their review of the process. This forum was the first of three, with the next one planned for the community on February 20th at 6:30 pm at St. Mary’s Church Downtown. If you are an attorney or a member of the judiciary, you should feel free to attend this event if you were unable to attend yesterday’s program. Then on February 27th, we are meeting at the Hall of Justice with members of the judiciary for a closed forum. In addition, the Task Force leadership will be reaching out to the party leaders to invite their feedback on the process as well.
Opinions differed as to how the process should be conducted; whether or not we should have a process; whether or not the poll should continue as part of the process; and how we can improve the promotion of the results in order to ensure that the function we set out to do which is to educate and inform the public about judicial candidates as they cast their votes each year.
One thing that all present agreed on yesterday was that our community deserves a strong and impartial judiciary, in order to ensure justice for all. And many of those present believe that as the lawyers that appear in front of judges, or have worked on a case with a potential judicial candidate, are in a good position to evaluate and inform.
If you are interested in the Judicial Evaluation process view the PowerPoint Presentation. The Task Force is very interested in additional feedback, so if you have comments, suggestions or ideas, please send those directly to Bryan Hetherington
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