Four years ago, the Commission on Judicial Performance nearly removed Judge Robert Freedman from the Alameda County Superior Court bench, but instead chose censure.
Local lawyers apparently are thankful the commission didn't go the extra step: Freedman was one of the highest rated judges on the Alameda County Bar Association's latest judicial survey.
The survey, the bar's first since 2006, rated Freedman 4.7 out of a highest possible score of 5. Only six of the court's other 84 bench officers earned higher ratings.
Freedman was censured in 2007 for failing to issue timely rulings and filing false salary affivadavits. On the survey released today, seven of nine respondents rated Freedman, who handles complex civil litigation, 5 out of 5 for "manages his or her courtroom effectively and rules promptly."
Some 250 lawyers filled out the survey overall.
Other notable results:
Scoring lowest were Judges Morris Beatus (2.1, based on four responses), Lawrence Appel (2.8) and Julia Spain (2.9) and Commissioners Karen Rodrigue (2.6), Nancy Lonsdale (2.8) and Taylor Culver (2.9).
The bench's overall score was 3.9, with the highest marks for promoting diversity on the jury (4.2) and and demonstrating a lack of gender, ethnic or other bias (4.1).
Federal bankruptcy judges scored higher on a companion survey , at an overall 4.4 percent. Bankruptcy Judges Thomas Carlson and Steven Johnson scored 4.9 each, and none scored lower than 4.1
The bar did not survey its membership on federal district judges.
[Editor's note: The Alameda County Bar Association initially provided copies of the survey to the media, but has since requested that anyone seeking a copy contact the bar.]