Rating judges online

April 15, 2011
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In doing a little research for a story, I came across ratethecourts.com. This site lets people anonymously rate any judge, and even judicial nominees. In addition to being able to fill out a survey about the judge’s performance, the site also lets you cast a vote if you think a particular judge is the worst judge of 2010.

One thing I found interesting about the survey is that, while you are anonymous, you need to respond as to your relationship with the judge – attorney, juror, litigant, witness, etc.

Judges who have been rated are assigned a letter grade, and you can search by location to see who had the highest grades, lowest grades, most comments, most negative comments, most positive comments, and more. The results may be deceiving because most judges – Indiana included – only have had a couple of surveys completed on them.

Like a lot of websites that rate things anonymously – hotels, clothing, restaurants – you have to digest the results intelligently. While a lot of bar associations conduct surveys anonymously, those are done with attorneys who practice before these judges, not the general public who may have had an unfavorable or favorable outcome in the courtroom.

Another component of this site is a forum where you can leave comments on judges. Again, this is where disgruntled people can say what they want about the judge, sometimes fueled by the negative outcome in their cases. But some people do leave positive comments. Lawyers also comment, as one wrote that an Indiana judge was a pleasure to appear before as an attorney.

I’m a fan of review sites. I tend to look up hotels before I book one to see what others’ experiences were. When it comes to rating a judicial experience involving the general public, it may be a bit skewed because those who had a negative outcome in their case will be more likely to say the judge was a bad judge even if he or she did their job correctly and fairly.

What are your thoughts on these kinds of judicial rating websites that allow anyone to fill out a survey and comment?

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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