Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 1992 Full List Judge Ensor

Seventeenth Judicial District - District Judge

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Honorable Thomas R. Ensor

Retention year: 1992
Recommendation: Retain

Receiving his undergraduate diploma in History and Government from Indiana University in 1968, Judge Thomas Ensor then obtained his law degree from the same institution in 1971. He worked as a VISTA volunteer for the Adams County District Attorney’s Office at that time, where he became a chief trial deputy who was in charge of the juvenile division.

At the end of February, 1978, Judge Ensor was appointed to the Adams County Court Bench, where he presided over some civil disputes, all phases of traffic and misdemeanor cases and he conducted preliminary hearings and bond proceedings in felony cases. He was elevated to a district court position in June, 1984. Since that time, Judge Ensor has serve in every district court position: civil, domestic relations, juvenile, “roving,” and criminal.

Judge Ensor was highly ranked by all of the groups who evaluated him. Each juror and almost every member of the courthouse staff who filled out a questionnaire gave him the best ratings. They viewed him as fair, decisive, polite and compassionate. All twenty-eight of those people felt he should be retained.

About 80 lawyers returned questionnaires. They almost uniformly praised his intelligence, legal knowledge, industriousness, promptness and punctuality. He was viewed as being just and fair. The only criticism appeared to be that some attorneys felt Judge Ensor could be curt of rude with them. However, several of these lawyers also commented Judge Ensor seemed to have gained better control of is temper since he had been promoted to his present district court position. Eighty-six percent of the reporting lawyers felt he should be retained as a judge.

Judge Ensor’s meeting with the members of the Judicial Performance Commission was impressive, the strongest of any of the judge who were interviewed for the purposes of this evaluation process. He was thoughtful, articulate, direct and engaging. He analyzed the hypothetical questions particularly well, combining fine understanding of the law with a quick and ready grasp of detail. His responses combined a confident and accurate mix of overview and nuance, emphasizing both legal and human factors. He left the commission members convinced he was an extremely capable jurist who possessed unimpeachable integrity.

The various comments from the questionnaires underscore the foregoing findings. For example, on one hand, one attorney described Judge Ensor as “short tempered.” The other, prevailing position was represented by a juror who commented Judge Ensor was the “best judge I’ve seen.” One lawyer wrote:

Judge Ensor is the most impressive judge I’ve encountered in . . .[the domestic relatons] area of the law. Not only is he extremely bright and knowledgeable about the law, [but] he has always been well prepared and knows the case as well as the attorneys. He welcomes adverse case law, original remedies and has no fear of [appellate} courts. It is a pleasure and a privilege to practice in his courtroom.

The 17th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Thomas R. Ensor be Retained.