46 Judges J. 1 (2007)

handle is hein.journals/judgej46 and id is 1 raw text is: INTODUCIO

Guidelines for Judicial Performance Evaluation
An Interview with Judge Cheryl Cesario  a

By Keith Roberts

or many state and local judges,
the topic Are you fit to be a
judge? becomes a concern every
few years at election time. Then it
doesn't mean how's your health? so
much as how good a judge are you?
To help provide answers for judges in
retention elections, the ABA in 1985
approved and published Guidelines
for Judicial Evaluation. About a dozen
states use such evaluations today.'
More recently, as judicial accountabili-
ty has become more of a public issue,
the ABA wanted to update the Guide-
lines to help the public evaluate judges
as well. Six of the thirty-nine states
with judicial elections now publicize
official evaluations-Alaska, Arizona,
Connecticut, New Mexico, Tennessee,
and Utah-and private organizations
increasingly publish their own.
As the nonjudicial branch of the
Judicial Division, it seemed appropri-
ate for the Lawyers Conference of the
Judicial Division to undertake the

Hon. Cheryl D. Cesario, the interviewee,
is currently a judge for the Circuit
Court of Cook County in Chicago and
chaired the performance evaluation
committee of the Lawyers Conference
of the ABA Judicial Division. Her e-mail
is ccesario@sbcglobal.net.
Keith Roberts, the interviewer, is the
owner of Roberts Proprietaries, Inc. His
e-mail is keithofrpi@earthlink.net.
TheJudges' Journal  Winter 2007

revision of the Guidelines. Under the
leadership of member Cheryl D.
Cesario, then assistant director for the
Center for Advocacy and Dispute
Resolution at the John Marshall Law
School, a process of study and evalua-
tion was begun in 2003, and with
amazing speed led to the House of
Delegates' unanimous approval of new
Guidelines in February 2005. Your
interviewer had a chance to catch up
with the busy Judge Cesario, who was
appointed last year to the Domestic
Violence Court of Cook County
(Chicago), and asked her a few ques-
tions about the revised Guidelines.
Fr How did this project come about,
and how did you proceed?
AI have always thought that one of
the Lawyers Conference responsi-
bilities is to undertake tasks for the
judiciary that judges themselves can-
not really do. When Anne Kelley, the
then-chair of the Lawyers Conference,
asked me to undertake the revision of
the Guidelines, I felt this was one of
those situations and agreed to under-
take the job. In consultation with the
ABA's Seth Anderson, who had writ-
ten about judicial evaluation and was
on the staff of the Justice Center and
the Standing Committee on Judicial
Independence, and through the good
offices of the National Judicial College's
Judge William Dressel, we enlisted
Dr. James T. Richardson and his
research assistant Alayna Jehlea of the
University of Nevada at Reno's Grant
Sawyer Center for Justice Studies to
do a literature review.
With their report in hand, the
Lawyers Conference created a com-
mittee with members from all six con-
ferences of the Judicial Division, as

well as the Standing Committee on
Judicial Independence in March 2004.
Members included state trial judges, a
federal trial judge, administrative law
judges, and attorneys from across the
country, and we had a lot of help
from ABA staff members Aimee
Torres, Seth Anderson, and Gilda
Fairley. Our goal was to assess the
impact of evaluations and the need
for changes in the ABA's Guidelines.
Dr. Malia Reddick of the University
of Missouri-Columbia served as our
reporter, helped draft the revised
Guidelines, and provided us with a
very helpful comparison of the revi-
sion with the original.
We were under considerable time
pressure because the ABA wanted
these Guidelines to come out simulta-
neously with the new Code of Judicial
Conduct, while our most knowledge-
able staff member, Seth Anderson,
was soon to take another assignment.
During the remaining months of 2004,
the committee held two in-person
meetings and several conference calls,
while individual members, particularly
Justice Frank Sullivan of the Indiana
Supreme Court, did a lot of work in
between times. We also circulated
drafts for comment to a broad spec-
trum of interested parties, including
the Conference of State Supreme Court
Justices, and those with expertise in
judicial performance evaluation. Many
of the responses were incorporated
into the final version.
[      Why did the Guidelines need
updating?
E     The ABA's policy is to review and
Vrevise guidelines every ten years,
continued on page 4

A

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