Unlike many counties in Indiana, St. Joseph Superior Court judges are chosen through a process known as merit selection and retention. Applicants for a judicial vacancy are reviewed by a committee made up of three elected attorneys, three citizens, and chaired by a justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. The committee then selects the top five candidates and presents those names to Indiana’s governor for final selection.
After being appointed to the bench, the judge stands for a retention vote at the next general election (2018, 2020, etc.). Thereafter, retained judges face the voters again every six years.
To assist voters in deciding whether to vote for or against the retention of a particular judge, the St. Joseph County Bar Association surveys its members each year. Members are asked to critique the St. Joseph Superior Court judges on a variety of matters, and the results are made available to the public. The survey was first conducted in 2008.
The survey results for all years are available here so citizens may review any trends regarding a particular judge. The survey results are in PDF format.