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State of Tennessee

Methods of Judicial Selection: Tennessee

Retention Evaluation Programs

A judicial performance evaluation process was established in 1994 to assist the public in making informed decisions regarding retention elections for appellate judges. The judicial performance evaluation commission evaluates incumbent judges who are standing for retention and makes a recommendation either "for retention" or "for replacement." Evaluations are based on the following criteria: integrity, knowledge and understanding of the law, ability to communicate, preparation and attentiveness, service to the profession, and effectiveness in working with other judges and court personnel. In developing its recommendations, the commission relies heavily on surveys that are distributed to judges, lawyers, and other court employees, and on personal interviews with judges.

The judicial performance evaluation commission is composed of nine members. The judicial council appoints five members, including three state court judges, one lawyer, and one nonlawyer. The speakers of the senate and the house each appoint one lawyer and one nonlawyer. The appointing authorities are required to make appointments that approximate the population of the state with respect to race and gender. Members serve six-year terms, and may serve up to two terms.

Click here to view the 2010 evaluation report.