Every spring, Franklin County attorneys are asked to evaluate the performance of sitting judges, in odd years rating the Franklin County Municipal Court, and in even years rating the Tenth District Court of Appeals, along with the Common Pleas, Domestic Relations, and Probate courts of Franklin County. The Judicial Performance Poll was developed by the Columbus Bar in an effort to help maintain the high quality of our judiciary and to educate voters during an election year. The results are also an element considered by the Columbus Bar's Judicial Screening Committee when interviewing judicial candidates prior to the fall elections.
In the fall, Franklin County attorneys are asked which judicial candidates they prefer, and the Judicial Candidate Preference Poll results are released in time for the election in November.
To help understand the Preference Poll, you must know that the Preference Poll includes the findings of the Columbus Bar Judiciary Committee candidate screenings. Those findings are arrived at by a vote of no more than 21 Committee members. The quorum requirement for the committee is 11.
The total membership of the Committee consists of 21 regular members and 9 alternates. In the event members are unavailable to participate in the interviews, the alternates are called upon. The by-laws of the Committee state that inasmuch as possible the Committee will be politically balanced.
The Committee interviews each of the candidates based on their responses to a questionnaire provided to them by the Judiciary Committee, supplemental information submitted by the candidates, and results of past performance polls, if applicable. After each interview, the Committee has the option of finding the candidate "Highly Recommended," "Acceptable," or "Not Recommended." To be "Highly Recommended," a candidate needs to receive at least 60 percent of the votes in that category. To be found "Not Recommended," a candidate must receive more than 70 percent of the votes in that category. In all other cases, the candidate receives an “Acceptable.”
The Committee findings are reported to the Columbus Bar Board of Governors. The Board oversees the Committee’s procedures to ensure compliance with the Committee’s bylaws. The Board concluded that the Judiciary Committee properly followed the required procedures and their results are included in the poll.