First Judicial District - Jefferson County JudgeRetention year: 2012
Recommendation: No Opinion
2012 Retention Survey Report
2011 Interim Survey Report
2009 Interim Survey Report
Honorable Tammy Greene
The First Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance, on an evenly divided vote, expresses NO OPINION on the retention of Judge Tammy Greene. All ten members of the Commission believe that if Judge Greene is retained, she must be placed on a rigorous improvement plan.
Judge Greene was appointed to the Jefferson County Court in 2008. Prior to this, Judge Greene was a part-time municipal court judge, a part-time municipal court prosecutor, and in private practice. As a Jefferson County Court Judge she handled civil cases before moving to the criminal division in January 2011. She currently handles a mix of traffic, misdemeanor, and felony cases. Her community interests include volunteering at Night Lights, a program that provides care to special needs families. She has also volunteered at her church and has been involved in efforts to improve the legal community by judging moot court competitions, mentoring law students, teaching county court civil law at new judge orientation, and being chair of the First Judicial District’s Access to Justice Committee. Judge Greene received her BA from the University of Tulsa and her law degree from the University of Illinois.
The Commission considered responses to anonymous surveys sent to attorneys and non-attorneys who had been in Judge Greene’s courtroom, unannounced courtroom visitations by Commission members, a self-evaluation by Judge Greene, two personal interviews with Judge Greene, written opinions of Judge Greene, and other information. Judge Greene has a pleasant demeanor on the bench and issues well written opinions. By all accounts she is compassionate, courteous, and efficient. However, a lack of judicial presence and understanding of the role of a judge are of serious concern to all Commission members. In rendering oral decisions, Judge Greene is often perceived as unsure of herself. At times, she has been observed actually talking to herself at the bench. Her presence in court seems weak and not authoritative. She can appear unprepared in court, avoids eye contact with participants, and reads information which could have been reviewed prior to entering the courtroom. In nearly every category, Judge Greene scored lower than the average for the county judges reviewed. Critical comments from judicial surveys were similar to concerns voiced by the Commission.
Judge Greene’s personal interviews with the Commission were concerning. She seemed unsure of herself and was not able to persuade some of the Commissioners that she is capable of the proper demeanor necessary to be a good judge. To her credit, the Commission believes that she has the desire to improve her performance. Statistics from the last three years show Judge Greene scoring lower than the average for all county judges reviewed. Moreover, her performance statistics have declined over those years. However, the Commission believes that this is due to the fact that one-and-one-half years ago Judge Greene was moved from a civil courtroom to a criminal courtroom. Judge Greene’s performance in the civil courtroom was ranked above average by attorneys during the years she served there. Judge Greene’s improvement in the criminal area has been very slow and she needs to improve in this area significantly and more quickly.
Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 70% recommended to retain, 20% not to retain, and 10% were undecided or didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation. Of those expressing an opinion to retain or not to retain, 78% recommended to retain and 23% not to retain. These numbers are lower than the average for all county judges reviewed this year. Of all non-attorneys surveyed, 76% recommended to retain, 12% not to retain, and 12% were undecided or didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation. Of those expressing an opinion to retain or not to retain, 87% recommended to retain and 13% not to retain. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.) The Commission has considered the fact that Judge Greene is new to the Jefferson County Court. The Commission is unanimous that Judge Greene must enter into an improvement plan supervised by the Chief Judge of the First Judicial District Court if she is retained. Judge Greene has voluntarily offered to enter into such a supervised plan and has presented a plan to the Commission which, if diligently pursued and overseen, hopefully will result in marked improvement by Judge Greene. The Commission expresses NO OPINION on the retention of Judge Greene.
Judge Tammy Greene’s Response: In 2009 and 2010, while in the civil division, I was ranked above average in all categories by the attorneys. 93% of the attorneys who expressed opinions recommended retention. In 2011, I moved to a criminal division and changed staffs. Unlike most judges, I had not previously worked in a district attorney’s or public defender’s office, so I had a learning curve in criminal law. In addition to my new caseload, I trained and assisted the new judge in the civil division. I care deeply about my cases and this institution. I received the 2011 survey results three months ago and I am working hard to hone my skills in criminal law. I have agreed to and proposed a performance plan, and now have mentor judges and educators assisting me to become an excellent judge in all areas of the law.