Another way to research a judge is to look at case law. Most state government websites have case law on record for appelate and supreme court decisions. How many times the judge has been overturned on appeal is a good way to determine how closely the judge follows the law.
Unfortunately...when its a small town judge that often doesn't help...because small town attorneys often aren't willing to "buck" a small town judge by filing appeals...sigh. Sometimes small town judges can be the best ones out there because they are truly the most "fair". However other times they get a "god complex" and ignore the law in favor of their own biases/personal opinions.
It can be the absolute WORST...if a town is small enough to have only one or two judges.