Get the skinny on judges

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As far as judges go, judges are deemed retained unless more people vote no than vote yes or not at all.

There are two Maricopa County Superior Court judges that appear should receive the boot this election cycle, Bejamin Norris, appointed by Gov. Janet Napolitano in 2008, and Gerald Porter, appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2011. Both are currently assigned to family court.

While the Judicial Performance Commission is generally unanimous in its finding that judges meet judicial standards, in Norris’ case only 3 of the 29 commissioners voted he meets those standards, 25 voted he does not meet judicial standards, with one not voting.

Attorneys responding to the survey rated Norris’ judicial temperament at 59 percent and communication skills at 67 percent.

His best marks were 87 percent for integrity and 84 percent for administrative performance.

Norris received 75 percent for legal ability, in a field of judges with marks mostly in the 90s.

Litigant/witness survey responses rated Norris highest for integrity at 93 percent and lowest for communication skills at 86.

Eleven of the 29 commissioners voted Porter does not meet judicial standards, while 18 voted he does.

Although a majority believes he meets judicial standards, more than one third do not agree.

His ratings from attorneys, however, were all in the 90s, except communication skills, where he received an 88.

Litigant/witness responses rated Porter highest for integrity at 77 percent and lowest for communication skills and judicial temperament at 66 percent each.

Bradley Astrowsky, who was appointed by Brewer in 2012 and currently assigned to juvenile court, received four negative votes from the commission.

While litigant/witness survey responses gave him 100 percent marks across the board, attorneys ranked him 77 percent for judicial temperament, 83 percent for administrative performance, with the rest in the low 90s.

Peter Reinstein, currently assigned to criminal court, was appointed by Gov. Jane Dee Hull in 1998.

He received one negative vote from the commission. Otherwise, Reinstein received attorney ratings mostly in the 90s with an 89 percent for communication skills and an 80 percent for judicial temperament.

Litigant/witness rankings gave him 98 percent for integrity with the rest of his marks in the high 80s.

Because the commission almost never votes against judges meeting standards, it’s probably worth noting when even one commissioner does.

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