Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 1992 Full List Judge Marmon

Sixteenth Judicial District - Bent County Judge

Honorable Thomas F. Marmon

Retention year: 1992
Recommendation: Do Not Retain

The Commission’s report on Judge Marmon is based upon caseload statistics from the Colorado Judicial Department; anonymous questionnaires distributed by state judicial personnel to attorneys who have  appeared before the judge; court employees who work with the judge; and law enforcement personnel who appear before the judge, and an interview with the judge.

Judge Marmon, age 62, resides in Las Animas, Colorado, with his family. He took his bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University and worked for Eastman Kodak Co. for 15 years prior to attending the University of Colorado School of Law. He was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1973. Judge Marmon practiced a short time in Boulder before joining the firm of Quick and Garlington in 1977, operating their Las Animas office. In 1978, he opened his own law practice in Las Animas. He was sworn in as Bent County Judge on October 28, 1978, following his appointment by Governor Richard Lamm.

Bent County is rated as 35% of a full-time court by the state. This directly affects the level of staffing and the pay the judge receives. This also allows the judge to maintain a private law practice, which Judge Marmon had done. For a short period, he maintained an office in La Junta as well as Las Animas and served as part-time La Junta municipal judge for five years.

The caseload in Bent County Court averages 650 to 700 cases a year. This includes traffic (250-300 cases a year), small claims (where civil disputes less than a certain amount may b resolved without attorneys), civil cases (involving larger sums up to $10,000) and misdemeanors (including a growing problem with domestic violence cases).

Reports to the Commission state that Judge Marmon displays a sense of justice, is courteous, maintains courtroom control, displays compassion, and treats all parties equally. However, other concerns were raised.

A private citizen brought to the attention of the Commission that a federal tax lien was filed in the public records on May 16, 1992 against Judge Marmon for social security and federal withholding taxes in the amount of $7,954, which are owed in connection with his private law practice since 1989. There is a concern that this is inappropriate under Colorado Judicial Canons One and Two, which say a judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary and a judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all the judge’s activities. At least some members of the pubic are concerned about a judge regularly hearing collection cases in such a situation. There is concern about a possible pattern of conduct over a period of time.

Judge Marmon was presented with the information concerning the tax lien and was given an opportunity to comment. He said he is working with the Internal Revenue Service to clear it up, that he does not think it affects his ability to sit as a judge and does not have any bearing on his qualifications. Judge Marmon said his personal situation has nothing to do with a case heard as a judge because in any case a judge must, to a certain extent, put aside biases built up over an entire life’s experience.

Another concern raised by the reports to the Commission are negative ratings by persons appearing in the Bent County Court concerning knowledge of evidence and procedure; lack of punctuality for proceedings; and lack of promptness with rulings or decisions by Judge Marmon. In response, Judge Marmon said he was not quire sure what was being addressed. Judge Marmon said he tried to move cases along as rapidly as possible and that he tries hard to be in court when he is supposed to be. With regard to decisions taken under advisement, Judge Marmon said he could recall only two or three times he felt he had let it become a problem.

When asked to comment on some general judicial philosophy, Judge Marmon said he believes: 1) The election of judges is a step in the wrong direction. The system of appointing judges who then must stand for retention at elections is a compromise; 2) Judges and lawyers are not as well trained as they might be for some matters such as juvenile matters and divorces; 3) While drunk driving laws are much more strict today than when he first came to the bench, and there has been some success in dealing with the problem, there is still a long way to go; 4) Sentencing people to jail is sometimes necessary, but the lease pleasant part of being a judge. Adoptions and marriages are the most pleasant part.

The 16th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Thomas F. Marmon Not be Retained.