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Voters keep all judges, including the one with the worst rating

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Voters in Maricopa County decided to keep Superior Court Judge Jo Lynn Gentry despite a poor job evaluation from a 32-member commission that rates judges.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the 64 judges in Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties, who were on the ballot for job retention. Voters in seven rural counties under the authority of the Arizona Court of Appeals also approved three judges from that court.

Gentry’s 6 percent margin of “yes” to “no” votes was the lowest. The three counties’ average vote tally was 75.41 percent for “yes” and 24.59 percent for “no.”

Voters treated Gentry much like other judges in previous elections who got poor job evaluations from the Commission on Judicial Performance Review. Voters typically take the job reviews of the commission to heart by more narrowly approving the worst performing judges, but rarely fire them.

Voters in 2014 ousted Benjamin Norris from Maricopa County Superior Court, only the third time since 1974 a judge has not been retained.

The commission votes on whether a judge “meets” or “does not meet” standards for the bench, and the recommendation goes into the Secretary of State’s General Election Publicity Pamphlet.

In addition to Gentry, the commission also rated Judge Carmine Cornelio of Pima County Superior Court as not meeting judicial standards. Cornelio decided against being on the ballot and his term will end December 31.

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