Annual Judicial Performance Evaluation

Dear members of the Navajo Nation Bar Association:

One of the most important functions members of the NNBA provide to the Navajo system of justice is ensuring that the Judiciary, the Navajo Nation Council, and the public at large receive our input on the quality and performance of the judges who serve the Navajo Nation.  We are the only law-trained group outside the Judiciary able to speak on the subject based on first hand experience.  Others hear rumors or stories, or perhaps have a day in court, but no other law-trained group consistently, on a daily basis, sees first hand how judges perform.

Our input is based on evaluation feedback from you, the members of the NNBA.  Working together with the Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation, the NNBA asks bar members to evaluate each of the Navajo Nation Justices and Judges that we have appeared before.  We compile all feedback and only share the aggregate results so you need not worry that any individual judge will know how you rated her or him.  If you provide written statements regarding your experience with a judge, we do not share those unless we have first removed any identifying information.  

 The results of these evaluations are used in three ways. They are used by the Chief Justice and Judicial Branch in their evaluation process.  They are used by individual judges as an aid in improving their service as a judge.  And, finally, they are provided to the Law and Order Committee of the Navajo Nation Council. 

If you would like to complete a written questionnaire instead of using the on line forms, please contact  the NNBA office.  If you have any problems completing the online questionnaire, please send an e-mail to admin@navajolaw.info.  Finally, if you have comments or suggestions about the questionnaire or the evaluation process, please send those to Dolph Barnhouse, NNBA Judicial Evaluation Committee Chair, at dbarnhouse@indiancountrylaw.com

Please complete the questionnaire by no later than Monday, May 15th!  We know you are busy, but completing these forms is of crucial importance to the work we all do on the Navajo Nation, and to the judges who serve the Navajo people.  Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the questionnaire.

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Annual Judicial Evaluation

Please  the following scale to answer questions to evaluate the District Court Judge's job performance.

1.      Inadequate
2.      Less Than Adequate
3.      Adequate
4.      More Than Adequate
5.      Excellent
NA    Cannot Evaluate

 

If you do not feel you have adequate first hand knowledge to evaluate the District Court Judge on a specific question, select NA (“Cannot Evaluate”).

Your Years in Practice *
Your Membership in the Navajo Nation Bar Association *
1. Which of the following types of cases have you had before the District Court Judge? Select all that apply. *
Legal Ability *
a. Understands substantive law.
b. Understands rules of procedure and evidence. *
c. Demonstrates legal reasoning ability. *
d. Keeps current on developments in law, procedure, and evidence. *
e. Demonstrates ability to correctly apply case laws to cases. *
f. Applies Navajo statutory laws before resorting to federal or state authorities. *
Integrity and Impartiality *
a. Avoids ex parte communications.
b. Avoids impropriety and the appearance of impropriety. *
c. Treats all people with dignity and respect. *
d. Avoids favor or disfavor toward anyone, including but not limited to favor or disfavor based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. *
e. Acts fairly by giving people individual consideration. *
f. Considers both sides of an argument before rendering a decision. *
g. Bases decisions on the law and the facts without regard to the identity of the parties or counsel, and with an open mind in considering all issues. *
h. Possesses the ability to make difficult or unpopular decisions. *
Communication Skills *
a. Clearly explains all oral decisions.
b. Issues clear and logical written opinions and orders. *
c. Issues opinions and orders without unnecessary delay. *
c. Issues opinions and orders without unnecessary delay.
d. Has a voice which is able to be heard in the courtroom. *
d. Has a voice which is able to be heard in the courtroom.
e. Speaks the Navajo language in court, as needed. *
e. Speaks the Navajo language in court, as needed.
Professionalism and Judicial Temperament *
a. Acts in a dignified manner.
b. Is courteous toward attorneys/advocates. *
c. Is courteous toward court staff. *
d. Acts with patience and self-control. *
e. Deals with pro se litigants and litigation fairly and effectively. *
f. Shows and expects professionalism from everyone in the courtroom. *
g. Demonstrates appropriate demeanor on the bench. *
h. Promotes public understanding of and confidence in the courts. *
Administrative Capacity *
a. Starts court on time.
b. Uses court time efficiently. *
c. Is prepared for court. *
d. Maintains control over the courtroom. *
e. Appropriately enforces court rules, orders, and deadlines. *
f. Uses settlement conferences and traditional alternative dispute resolution mechanisms as appropriate. *
g. Effectively uses pretrial procedures to narrow and define the issues. *
Knowledge of Navajo Fundamental Law and Navajo Traditional Customs *
a. Is knowledgeable about Diné Fundamental Law.
b. Is knowledgeable about Navajo traditional customs, including traditional ceremonies and teachings (e.g. the Navajo Journey narrative). *
c. Appropriately incorporates Diné Fundamental Law into decisions. *
d. Applies Diné Fundamental Law (if appropriate) before resorting to federal or state authorities. *
Overall Performance: *

Thank you for taking the time to complete this questionnaire for each of the judges before whom you have practiced.  We compile all feedback and only share the aggregate results so you need not worry that any individual judge will know how you rated her or him.  If you provide written statements regarding your experience with a judge, we do not share those unless we have first removed any identifying information.