Mass. courts to evaluate judges via Web

For the first time in Massachusetts, the court system will use the Web to evaluate judges, it announced yesterday. The Supreme Judicial Court’s Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee is embarking on a round of evaluations of judges in Suffolk County, where Boston is located. The committee has already sent print evaluation questionnaires to lawyers and court employees and will also send them to jurors.

Now it will send e-mails to some 900 lawyers inviting them to complete the evaluation online. While the evaluation program has been in place since 2001, this is the first time it will include an electronic component. Among the categories covered in the evaluations are: a judge’s knowledge of the law; temperament on the bench; courtroom control; treatment of litigants, witnesses, jurors and attorneys; fairness and impartiality; and timeliness in issuing written decisions.