Election season includes district and statewide races for North Carolina judicial offices. But these races aren't often covered by the media. Luckily, the North Carolina Bar Association surveyed more than 4,000 of its member attorneys about the candidates' qualifications.
From the North Carolina Bar Association
NORTH CAROLINA BAR ASSOCIATION PROVIDING INFORMATION ON CANDIDATES FOR DISTRICT, SUPERIOR COURT JUDGESHIPS
North Carolina voters will be better informed when they go to the polls this November to elect District Court and Superior Court judges, thanks to information provided as a public service by the North Carolina Bar Association.
The information, derived from surveys of NCBA member attorneys on the qualifications of sitting judges and non-incumbent candidates, is easily accessible via a special webpage, http://www.electncjudges.org.
The webpage features separate, easily downloadable pages on each contested election except for instances where a candidate was appointed to fill a vacancy after the surveys were conducted. The information is organized for voters by county.
The surveys were conducted by the NCBA's Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee (incumbent judges) in May 2011 and the NCBA's Administration of Justice Committee (non-incumbent candidates) in March 2012.
Former District Court Judge Nancy Norelli of Charlotte currently chairs the JPE Committee while fellow Charlotte attorney Ted Hennessey is chair of the AOJ Committee.
Incumbent judges were rated from one through five in six categories: integrity and impartiality, legal ability, professionalism, communication, administrative skills and overall performance. Corresponding assessment values for each rating are as follows: 5 (excellent), 4 (good), 3 (average), 2 (below average) and 1 (poor).
Ratings for non-incumbent candidates were assessed on the same scale in virtually the same six categories. The lone exception is the category of integrity and fairness that was utilized in the evaluation of non-incumbent candidates; the category was titled integrity and impartiality in the evaluation of incumbent judges.
The thrust of both survey reports is to provide North Carolina voters with additional information to use when evaluating candidates for judgeships. The ratings assessed to each candidate in no way imply an endorsement or recommendation by the North Carolina Bar Association, its committees or its members.
For the survey of incumbent judges seeking election in 2012, 4,278 attorneys participated and provided more than 27,700 responses. For the survey of non-incumbent judicial candidates seeking election in 2012, 2,649 attorneys participated and provided more than 8,600 responses.