Bill Details - HB311 (2017)

HB 311 - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2017 SESSION

17-0752

09/06

 

HOUSE BILL 311

 

AN ACT relative to including court personnel in judicial performance evaluations.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Brewster, Merr. 21

 

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill includes court personnel in judicial performance evaluations.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

17-0752

09/06

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Seventeen

 

AN ACT relative to including court personnel in judicial performance evaluations.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Judicial Performance Evaluations; Court Personnel.  Amend RSA 490:32 to read as follows:

490:32  Judicial Performance Evaluations.

I.  The chief justice and a majority of the supreme court, in consultation with the administrative judges of the superior and circuit courts and other nonjudicial branch officers as established by court rule, shall design and implement by court rule, a program for performance evaluation of judges and court personnel.  The sole purpose of this program shall be the improvement of the performance of individual judges and court employees and of the judiciary as a whole.  Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, all information compiled through this program shall be confidential, except as otherwise provided in this section.

II.  The program for performance evaluation shall be as inclusive as practicable and, with respect to judges, shall include, but shall not be limited to, a questionnaire, to be designed by the supreme court, and a self-evaluation form to be completed by the judge.  The supreme court shall strive to achieve uniformity among court evaluation questionnaires, recognizing that the questionnaires for each court may differ due to the jurisdiction of the courts.  Questionnaires shall be available to attorneys, parties, witnesses, jurors, court personnel, and others who have appeared before a judge during the evaluation period, for the purpose of evaluating the performance of the judge.  The questionnaire shall include, but shall not be limited to, questions relative to the judge's performance, temperament and demeanor, judicial management skills, legal knowledge, attentiveness, bias and objectivity, and degree of preparedness.  Completed forms shall be returned to the administrative judge, unsigned, within 30 days of issuance.  All responses shall remain confidential.

III.  The program for performance evaluation shall ensure that each judge and court employee is evaluated a minimum of once every 3 years.  If a judge fails to achieve an overall satisfactory judicial evaluation, a follow-up evaluation shall be conducted in 18 months.

IV.  The chief justice of the supreme court shall evaluate the administrative judges of the superior and circuit courts.

V.(a)  The chief justice and a majority of the supreme court, in consultation with the administrative judges of the superior and circuit courts, shall establish judicial evaluation standards, and shall design or determine appropriate programs for judges who need improvement in achieving the judicial evaluation standards.  The supreme court shall establish disciplinary rules and may initiate disciplinary action when appropriate.  If a judge fails to achieve an overall satisfactory judicial evaluation in the second of 2 consecutive evaluations, or purposely fails to complete assigned programs, the judge's right to confidentiality shall be waived.

(b)  Upon consideration of nomination for another judicial appointment, a judge's evaluations shall be made available to the governor upon request.  Upon nomination, such evaluations shall be made available to the executive council upon request.  The contents of such evaluations shall be kept in strict confidence by the governor and executive council except as otherwise provided in this section.

(c)  Judicial and court employee performance evaluations shall be retained by the judicial branch for the duration of the judge's tenure.

VI.  The supreme court shall prepare a report on the implementation of the performance evaluation program described in this section within one year of the effective date of this section and submit such report to the governor, the speaker of the house, the president of the senate, and the chairpersons of the house and senate judiciary committees.  Such report shall be made available to the public.  The supreme court shall annually file a report on the evaluation process, including, but not limited to, the number of evaluations performed by each court, the percentage of responses received, and a summary of the overall evaluation results and all actions taken to correct inadequacies and deficiencies.  The annual report shall be submitted on or before June 30 of each year to the governor, the speaker of the house, the president of the senate, and the chairpersons of the house and senate judiciary committees.  Such report shall be made available to the public.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 5, 2017 Introduced 01/05/2017 and referred to Judiciary HJ 3 P. 8
Jan. 17, 2017 Public Hearing: 01/17/2017 10:00 AM LOB 208
Feb. 7, 2017 Executive Session: 02/07/2017 10:00 AM LOB 208
March 8, 2017 Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate for 03/08/2017 (Vote 13-0; CC) HC 14 P. 16
March 8, 2017 Inexpedient to Legislate: MA VV 03/08/2017 HJ 9 P. 36

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 17, 2017 House Hearing
Feb. 7, 2017 House Exec Session
March 8, 2017 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB311 Revision: 339 Date: Jan. 30, 2017, 10:26 a.m.