Oct. 24, 2004
Tribune Election 2004 Special Section
Michael O’Melia? Barbara Jarrett? Linda Akers?
You’ve probably never heard of these people unless you’ve been arrested, divorced or sued.
They are among the 40 Maricopa County Superior Court judges, eight appellate judges and three Arizona Supreme Court justices who are on the Nov. 2 ballot so voters can decide whether they should remain on the bench.
To help voters decide, the 34-member Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review has given its assessment of the judges, which can be found in the secretary of state’s voter publicity pamphlet and the commission’s Web site, www.supreme.state.az. us/jpr.
"We’ve tried to revamp the pamphlet this year to make it easier for people to understand," said Judy Pfau, the commission’s program manager.
The commission voted in July on whether each judge meets judicial standards.
It based its findings on comments from public meetings and letters and surveys of court users.
Most judges received unanimous approval from the commission, which is made up of judges, lawyers and citizens, but judges Richard Trujillo and Crane McClennen received 11 and 10 votes respectively for not meeting standards.
Arizona’s governor chooses who sits on the Superior Court bench in Maricopa and Pima counties, but judges must gain voter approval every four years to keep their jobs.
Voters in Arizona’s remaining 13 counties choose Superior Court judges at the ballot box.
Justices of the peace are elected, while municipal judges are not, and the commission does not evaluate them.