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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 26A: Questionnaires for performance evaluation program; contents; distribution, collection, etc.; frequency of evaluations

Section 26A. The program for performance evaluation, as described in section twenty-six of this chapter, shall include, but not be limited to, a questionnaire, to be designed and implemented by the supreme judicial court. Said questionnaires shall be given to attorneys, parties and jurors appearing before a judge in each trial and in addition to each trial, in a representative sample of cases, so they may evaluate the performance of the judge. The questionnaire shall include, but not be limited to, questions relative to the judge's performance, demeanor, judicial management skills, legal ability, attentiveness, bias and degree of preparedness. Completed questionnaires shall be returned to the supreme judicial court, unsigned, within thirty days of the completion of the case or trial and all responses shall remain confidential. The data collected from each questionnaire shall be compiled and once the data has been compiled, the questionnaire from which the data was collected shall be destroyed.

The chief justice of the trial court shall establish the method and means by which the questionnaires shall be distributed, collected, verified and compiled.

Judges with one to four years service shall be evaluated every twelve to eighteen months and judges with more than four years service shall be evaluated every eighteen to thirty-six months. A minimum of twenty-five responses shall be compiled before a judge is evaluated. The supreme judicial court, or their designees, shall conduct the evaluation of a judge. When an evaluation of an individual judge is complete, it shall be made available to that judge and discussed with him.