At any time prior to or not later than one (1) year after retirement, a judge may seek a recommendation for appointment as a senior judge, by filing with the Commission a request in writing for such recommendation. As with an associate judge who seeks reappointment, a retiring judge must submit a written statement, including illustrative materials, reviewing the significant aspects of his or her judicial activities, and must submit on a form provided by the Commission a statement from the judge’s doctor attesting to the judge’s health and fitness to continue judicial service.
Once a judge submits a request for a recommendation for appointment as a senior judge, the Commission begins the review process. The fitness evaluation includes; soliciting comments from the legal community and the general public concerning the judge’s qualifications, interviewing attorneys and Court personnel who have appeared before and worked with the judge, interviewing the judge and the chief judge of the judge’s court, and reviewing all of the Commission’s files concerning the judge.
The Commission must complete its review within 180 days and is required to submit a written report of its findings to the appropriate chief judge, and to make a recommendation concerning a judge’s fitness and qualifications to continue judicial service. If the Commission makes a favorable recommendation, the chief judge determines if the judge is to be appointed a senior judge, and such appointment must be made within thirty (30) of receipt of the Commission’s recommendation. If the Commission makes an unfavorable recommendation, the requesting judge is ineligible for appointment as a senior judge. The recommendation of the Commission and the decision of the chief judge regarding appointment are final.
A senior judge must be recommended for reappointment to senior status every four (4) years, unless the judge has reached age 74, in which case a recommendation and reappointment are required every two (2) years.