State Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Wolfe tells lawmakers the courts will take three steps toward better evaluation, accountability and prudence. Wolfe has delivered the annual State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the legislature. Wolfe says a thorough examination of the courts was accomplished last year. And he wants the public to better understand judicial elections.
Wolfe says he wants more people involved in the evaluation of judges. Wolfe says a study guided by the National Center for State Courts will assess the court system’s personnel needs. He says he doesn’t believe the state needs more judges, but wants to wait for the results of the study before any long-term changes in the allocation or numbers of judges are made. As far as judicial pay, Wolfe endorses the Citizens’ Commission on Compensation recommendation for raises, saying seven years without a pay increase is too long. The Citizens’ Commission recommends judges receive a $1,2000 lump sum pay increase, plus a 4% pay hike. It recommends Associate Circuit Judges get an additional $2,000.