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Vt. lawmakers retain 2 judges, magistrate

March 30, 2012
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MONTPELIER, Vt.—Vermont lawmakers have approved six more years on the bench for two judges and a magistrate.

Thursday's votes were an example of the state's judicial retention process, in which the legislature reviews judges' performance every six years and then votes in a joint session on whether to retain them.

Some years the judges up for review draw heated debate, but this year the process was a quiet one. Judges Karen Carroll and Dennis Pearson and Magistrate Barry Peterson each won a new six-year term by overwhelming margins.

Many states elect their judges, a process sometimes criticized for injecting too much politics into the judiciary. Federal judges are appointed for lifetime terms, a system sometimes criticized as lacking accountability. Vermont takes a middle course, with judges reviewed every six years.

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