- Associated Press - Thursday, August 14, 2014

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - In a story Aug. 13 about a review of Arizona judges, The Associated Press reported erroneously the number of judges deemed unfit by the Arizona Judicial Performance Review Commission since its inception in 1992. Two judges have been deemed unfit, not one.

A corrected version of the story is below:

2 Arizona judges fall below standards

Arizona judicial review finds 2 judges in Maricopa, Pima counties do not meet standards


Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - An Arizona commission that reviews judges found that two in Pima and Maricopa counties do not meet judicial standards.

The Arizona Judicial Performance Review Commission has only found two other judges to be unfit since it was established in 1992, spokeswoman Vanessa Haney said.

Catherine Woods, a juvenile court judge in Pima County Superior Court, and Benjamin Norris, a family court judge in Maricopa County, do not meet standards based on criteria such as communication, temperament, legal ability and others.

The findings do not have direct repercussions attached to them. Instead, the commission publishes the results on its website and also distributes them by mail to voters. All of the judges reviewed are up for election this year.

“They can look at it and do what they will,” Haney said.

The detailed reports do not provide specific examples of a judge’s performance. For example, in the survey filled out by attorneys regarding Woods, three of the 21 respondents rated her unsatisfactory in the category of “knowledge of substantive law.” Written critiques are given to judges instead being published.

Woods was appointed in 2011 by Gov. Jan Brewer.

“Every day, I strive to provide fair and efficient justice to all who are involved in the court system. I believe in the work that I am doing and the importance of the work of this court,” Woods said in a statement. “The Commission’s recommendations will provide guidance to me for further improvement in my performance as a judge. I am committed to continuing to serve the public with dedication and integrity.”

Norris, who was appointed in 2008 by former Gov. Janet Napolitano, has not responded to requests for comment.

Five attorneys who responded to the survey about Norris said he was unsatisfactory when it comes to “knowledge of rules of procedure.”

The commission surveys attorneys, witnesses and jurors and also holds public hearings to make assessments.

Surveys take into consideration how judges treat others, their legal reasoning abilities and whether they are punctual and prepared for hearings. In Norris’ case, only three commissioners voted that he meets standards while 25 others voted that he didn’t. For Woods, seven voted that she meets standards and 22 voted that she did not.

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