Detroit Bar Association releases Judicial Candidate Ratings

The Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee of the Detroit Bar Association has rated judicial candidates for contested elections in the courts of Wayne County for the 2020 election cycle. The committee is comprised of 26 attorneys from the Detroit Metropolitan area and evaluates the fitness of each candidate for judicial office based upon the candidate’s legal ability (scholarship, analysis, judgment, clarity of expression), trial experience, integrity, honesty, judicial temperament, and reputation, without regard to party affiliation, race or creed. Ratings are given after review of the candidate’s completed questionnaire and/or an in-person interview conducted with an interview panel of the committee. The ratings refer only to a candidate’s qualifications for the position of judge in the court that the candidate is seeking, and do not in any way refer to a candidate’s qualifications as a practicing attorney. The ratings reflect the collective opinion of the committee and not the Detroit Bar Association as a whole. The ratings for individual candidates are set forth below.

The Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee has four categories of ratings: Outstanding, Well Qualified, Qualified, Not Qualified or No Rating. Ratings were provided only in contested races.
Judicial ratings are:

• Outstanding: To be rated “outstanding,” an individual must stand at the top of his/her profession; and must rank among the very best qualified judges or lawyers available for judicial service. S/he must have outstanding legal ability and background, and wide experience, wisdom, intellect, insight, and impartiality. To be accorded this highest rating, a candidate should generally also have the breadth of vision and outlook which derives from participation in the civic, charitable, religious or political activities of the community and the work of the organized bar of other professional organizations. In short, s/he should be a person whose preeminence in the law and as a citizen is widely acknowledged and whose qualifications for the position are virtually unanimously hailed by judges and lawyers.

• Well Qualified: To be rated “well qualified,” a candidate must exhibit essentially those qualities indicated for the rating of “outstanding.” Although this is a rating which is lower than outstanding, it is nevertheless a high rating. A “Well Qualified” candidate may have less breadth of experience but shows the promise of all the criteria above.

• Qualified: To be rated “qualified,” a candidate must exhibit a fitness for the judicial office which s/he seeks. A candidate given this rating would be considered average on an overall analysis of the factors set forth in (a) above

• Not Qualified: To be rated “not qualified,” a candidate must be considered well below average on an overall analysis of the factors set forth in (a) above. The “not qualified” rating indicates that a candidate is not qualified for the judicial office which he or she seeks, but the rating should in no way be construed as an adverse reflection on the candidate’s qualifications as an attorney.

• No rating, Did Not Participate: If a candidate does not submit a questionnaire or attend an interview and the Association Secretary certifies, in writing, to the Committee that written notice was provided to the candidate, then the Committee may issue a “No Rating; Did Not Participate.” However, if there is sufficient information available to the Committee on the Candidate’s fitness for the judicial office which s/he seeks, the Committee may rate such candidate, even in absence of a questionnaire or an interview.


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