Clear The Bench Colorado Director Matt Arnold featured panelist at National Conference on Evaluating Appellate Judges today

The Denver-based Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) – “a national, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the process and culture of the civil justice system” – is hosting a National Conference on Evaluating Appellate Judges on 11-12 August on the campus of the University of Denver (Sturm Hall, 2000 E. Asbury Avenue, Denver CO 80208).

Clear The Bench Colorado Director Matt Arnold is, by special invitation, a featured panelist on the topic of “Evaluating Appellate Judges: Are we doing it right? How can we do it better?

(Short answers: “NO”, and “view our Evaluations of Judicial Performance page for an idea”).

To the Institute’s credit, they (IAALS) extended the invitation even after being taken to task for their involvement in the “Know Your Judge” campaign which likely violated Colorado campaign finance laws in advocating against Clear The Bench Colorado’s judicial accountability efforts during the state’s 2010 judicial retention elections without ever bothering to register with the Office of Secretary of State, as required by law.  (The case is currently winding its way through the appellate process).

Since being announced last month, the conference has gained attention in the legal profession press, both locally (the Denver Bar Association and Colorado Bar Association featured the event in their respective newsletters, following Law Week Colorado’s coverage) and nationally:

For more on the topic (and for “what promises to be an engaging and thought-provoking” discussion), you’ll have to attend the conference, which is open to the public and free of charge (register online).

From the conference website:

This national conference will consider ways to improve existing processes for evaluating the performance of appellate judges and for informing voters about evaluation results. Chief Justice Mark Cady of the Iowa Supreme Court is the featured speaker. We invite you to join us for what promises to be an engaging and thought-provoking event.

For Colorado attorneys and judges, 9 hours of general CLE credits, including 1.2 hours of ethics, may be earned.

Click here for the conference agenda.

Topics include:

  • The appellate judge: What makes a good appellate judge? Can we capture these qualities in the evaluation process?
  • Evaluating appellate judges: Are we doing it right? How could we do it better?
  • Retention elections, special interests, and voters: Perspectives from a justice, a journalist, and a scholar

Clear The Bench Colorado will, with your support, continue to promote transparency and accountability in the Colorado judiciary, informing the public to increase awareness of the substantial public policy implications of an unrestrained activism and political agendas in the courts.  We will continue to work to educate voters and provide information of relevance related to the judicial branch, and to provide useful and substantive evaluations of judicial performance.

However, we can’t do it alone –  we need your continued support; via your comments (Sound Off!) and, yes, your contributions.  Freedom isn’t free –nor is it always easy to be a Citizen, not a subject.

Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.

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