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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do so many judges “meet or exceed minimum performance standards”?

  • Judges with unfavorable evaluation outcomes often step down from the bench before the next election.
  • Utah has one of the most rigorous state judicial appointment processes in the country to ensure a high-quality state judiciary.
  • Judges receive confidential midterm evaluations from JPEC, which provide feedback to aid their professional development.
  • If judges meet minimum statutory requirements, there is a legal presumption that judges will meet or exceed minimum performance standards.

2. When was the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission established?

The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) was established by the legislature in 2008.  The 2012 election cycle was the first time JPEC’s evaluation reports were available to the public. JPEC is here to help you know your judges before you vote.

3. Who serves on the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission?

The Commission consists of 13 members. The Utah Supreme Court and the Governor each appoint four members; the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives each appoint two members; and the executive director of the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice also serves on the Commission. No more than seven members may be attorneys. No more than half the members appointed by each branch of government may be of the same political party.The current members of the Commission can be found on the About Us page.

4. Is every judge evaluated?

The Commission will evaluate all judges and justices who stand for retention election in the state. These include Utah Supreme Court justices, Utah Court of Appeals judges, district court judges, juvenile court judges, and both municipal and county justice court judges. The evaluation requirements vary. Federal court judges in Utah are not evaluated by JPEC. For more information on the evaluation requirements, see our Evaluation Process page.

5. Who gets to fill out the survey questionnaires?

Attorneys, jurors, and court staff who have worked with or interacted with each judge standing for retention election will be surveyed. In smaller courts, where surveying is unreliable, evaluators interview litigants, family members of litigants, attorneys, and court staff. They also conduct video observation of small courts.  For more information on the survey process, see our Evaluation Process page.

6. Do judges see the individual survey responses?

Judges will not see individual survey response scores submitted by respondents. They will only be able to see the compiled report that combines the results of all returned surveys. That report will include written comments provided by people being surveyed; however, any identifying information in the comments will be removed.

7. I feel an attorney is doing a poor job representing me or has done something illegal or unethical. Can the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission help me?

No, the Commission has no authority over attorneys. If you have a complaint about an attorney, you should contact:

Office of Professional Conduct
645 South 200 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Phone 801.531.9110
Fax 801.531.9912

8. I would like to evaluate a judge. Can I do that?

If you would like to comment about a judge with whom you have had personal experience, you may submit your public comment online via the public comments page.
Comments can also be mailed to:
Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission
Utah State Capitol Complex
Senate Building E-330
P.O. Box 142330
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-2330

9. I think a judge made a number of legal errors in a decision. What can the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission do about that?

Legal errors may be corrected through the appellate process. The Commission can do nothing to change a judge’s decision. However, you may submit any comments you would like to make about a judge’s performance in a letter or email to the Commission.

10. I think a judge has done something illegal or unethical.  Should I tell the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission?

If you believe the judge did something illegal or unethical, you may include this information in a public comment. In addition, you should also contact the Judicial Conduct Commission, which has separate responsibility for judicial disciplinary matters. The Judicial Conduct Commission may be contacted online at or by mail at 1385 S. State Street, Suite 143, Salt Lake City, UT, 84115. Phone: (801)468-0021.

11. What are the minimum performance standards for judges?

It depends.  Judges are divided into three types and the evaluation standards vary per type. Review the minimum performance standards for each of the following:  Full evaluation judges, mid level evaluation judges, and basic evaluation judges.