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Ballot Includes Retention for Iowa Judges

Although they're not getting much attention compared to president, senator, and congress, there are some other very important names on the November ballot. Iowa residents will decide whether 95 local, appellate, and supreme court judges will keep their jobs.

And to help, as it has in past years, the Iowa Bar Association has published ratings of all the judges up for retention. The chair of the association's Fair and Impartial Courts Committee, Guy Cook, says they're evaluated by lawyers who've appeared before them.

"Whether it be knowledge of the law, perception of the issues, demeanor and temperament, clarity of opinions, how quickly they make their rulings and decisions, and a host of other factors designed to measure the performance of the judge."

Then the ratings are combined to come up with an overall rating of one to 100 - nearly all this year earned ratings from 85 to 100 per cent. 

Cook emphasizes retention should not be a popularity contest.

"Have they done anything unethical, have they engaged in any dereliction of duty - if they haven't, and this judicial performance review indicates they've received passing scores, then they should be retained."

To be retained a judge only needs to win a simple majority.

On the ballot are four members of the Iowa Supreme Court, including Thomas Waterman from Davenport, four members of the Court of Appeals, and 87 district judges.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.