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State of Alaska

Methods of Judicial Selection: Alaska

Retention Evaluation Programs

Since 1976, the Alaska Judicial Council has evaluated the performance of judges standing for retention and provided evaluation information and recommendations to voters. The judicial council is composed of three nonlawyer members appointed by the governor and confirmed by a majority of the legislature in joint session, three lawyer members appointed by the board of governors of the Alaska Bar Association, and the chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, who serves as the ex officio chair. Evaluations are based on surveys of attorneys, peace and probation officers, social workers, court employees, and jurors, as well as investigative materials specific to each judge and public input. Click here to view 2010 evaluation materials. Click here to view the AJC bylaws regarding judicial performance evaluation.

A study of retention election outcomes by the American Judicature Society reported that Alaska voters take the judicial council's ratings into account. Data on judicial retention elections from 1976 to 1996 showed that, on average, the higher the judge's rating, the higher his or her affirmative vote percentage. Click here for the executive summary of this study.