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Judicial Retention Committee, Vermont State Legislature
A key role of the Judicial Retention Committee is to make recommendations about whether Vermont's state court judges should be retained for an additional term on the bench when their current term expires. In Vermont, the state legislature plays more of a role in the selection and retention of state court judges than is the case in most other states.
In March 2011, the committee attracted attention when six of the committee's eight members on the committee voted not to retain Judge Mark Keller, which led ultimately to Judge Keller deciding to withdraw his request to be retained. Eldred French, one of the two committee members who did vote to retain Keller, said, "There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Judge Keller is a fine man and a terrific judge," but also noted that surveys and taped evidence had suggested to the committee that Judge Keller was confrontational in the courtroom in a way that is unacceptable and that this problem had been in evidence for some time: "The most troublesome thing to me is that this is not a new problem."
The following table describes committee membership at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session.
|Judicial Retention Members, 2013|
|Democratic members (5)||Republican members (3)|
|• Chip Conquest||• Thomas Koch, Chair|
|• Peter Galbraith||• Joe Benning|
|• Alice Nitka||• Peg Flory|
|• Linda Waite-Simpson|
|• Suzi Wizowaty|
The following table describes committee membership for the 2011 legislative session.
|Judicial Retention Members, 2011|
|Democratic members (6)||Republican members (2)|
|• Alice Nitka, Chair||• Thomas Koch|
|• Eldred French||• Joe Benning|
|• Willem Jewett|
|• Cynthia Martin|
|• Sally Fox|
|• Peter Galbraith|