Your ballot will include nonpartisan judges without opponents who still need your approval to keep their seats. A judge is re-elected when she nails down 57 percent of the retention vote.
Usually, judges keep their seats without much fuss. But there's a wrench in the works this year. The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission suggests you don't retain three Metro Court judges: Cristina Jaramillo, Linda Rogers and Rachel Walker Al-Yasi. Since the commission was created in 1997 by the state Supreme Court, it has rarely made "do not retain" recommendations. (See all the 2010 evaluations here.)
There are 15 people on the commission—seven lawyers and eight nonlawyers. They're appointed by the state Supreme Court.
An evaluation is done midway through a judge's term based on confidential written surveys and interviews with the judges.
Jaramillo's surveys were positive from court staff and jurors but negative from attorneys, who suggested she's not always impartial.
Rogers also ran into trouble with surveyed lawyers, who made similar claims.
Walker Al-Yasi received low scores from attorneys and court staff.
Jaramillo and Walker Al-Yasi defended themselves in a Journal article and said making good judicial decisions is not about popularity.
This year, the commission also included a summary of the surveys collected. Read the reports at nmjpec.org.