When voters hit the polls this November in Bernalillo County, they’ll vote whether to keep Metro Court judges. But now, a judicial review group is suggesting they do not retain four of them.
That group, called the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, gives its recommendations on which judges should and should not be retained.
For Bernalillo County Metro Court, JPEC says voters should vote “no” to:
Chief Judge Edward Benavidez
Judge Michelle Castillo Dowler
Judge Kenny Montoya
Judge Linda Rogers
KRQE News 13 asked if it was concerning that the Chief Judge received a ‘do not retain’ recommendation.
“Well, anytime that we vote not to retain is concerning. And we take our job very seriously and obviously this affects his livelihood,” Denise Torres, JPEC’s Chair, said.
JPEC was established by the Supreme Court and is funded by the legislature. It looks at four areas when evaluating judges.
“One: legal ability, two: fairness, three: communication skills, and four: preparation, attentiveness, temperament and control over proceedings,” JPEC Vice Chair James Hall said.
The results are based on surveys sent out to people who have regular contact with the judges, such as law enforcement, court staff and attorneys.
Court staff says Michelle Castillo Dowler wasn’t very respectful to them.
Attorneys claim Linda Rogers didn’t always demonstrate appropriate demeanor on the bench.
In his interview with the commission, Kenny Montoya refused to acknowledge the areas he could improve in.
“Most of the people don’t see these judges, they don’t ever see them. They have no information except the ones that make the news,” Torres said.
Judges need 57 percent approval by voters to be retained.