Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2008 Full List Judge Carlson

Thirteenth Judicial District - Sedgwick County Judge

2008 Retention Survey Report

Honorable Max E. Carlson

Retention year: 2008
Recommendation: Retain

The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends, by a unanimous vote, that Judge Max E. Carlson BE RETAINED.

Background:  Judge Carlson was appointed to the bench in 1978.  He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Nebraska Law School.  He taught English for two years at the University of Northern Colorado .  Currently his workload consists of 15% Civil, 5% Felony, 20% Traffic, 20% Misdemeanor and 40% Traffic cases.  He also maintains a private practice and is licensed to practice in both Colorado and Nebraska .  Judge Carlson updated a county judicial bench book to help him be consistent and accurate in his decisions.  The book has been distributed to every county court in the district plus a number of other counties. Judge Carlson serves on the Board of Directors of two local foundations, is a past president of the Julesburg Lions Club and frequently speaks to local high schools about the law and education requirements for a legal profession. 

The Commission reviewed the results of attorney and non-attorney evaluations, including written comments from both groups.  The Commission also interviewed Judge Carlson in person and considered his written self-evaluation.

Strengths/Weaknesses:  Judge Carlson strives to issue well reasoned decisions, have an even temperament and be punctual.  He stated that he believes most criminal defendants have underlying issues that eventually lead them to break the law and the ideal judge will help him/her with the underlying problem. The attorneys surveyed listed his strengths as:  Judicial demeanor, knowledge of the law, communication skills, knowledge of the community and carefully considering factors and issues in each case.  One attorney commented that Judge Carlson does well considering being such a distance from nearby courts.  No weaknesses were noted.

Recommendation:  Of those who made a retention recommendation, 100% of attorneys and 72% of non-attorneys surveyed recommend that Judge Carlson be retained in office, while 38% of non-attorneys recommended non-retention.  The samples were quite small (3 attorneys and 14 non-attorneys), perhaps reflecting the size of his jurisdiction.