Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2002 Full List Judge James

Fourteenth Judicial District - Moffat County Judge


Reports:
2002 Retention Survey Report

Honorable Mary Lynne James

Retention year: 2002
Recommendation: Retain

The Fourteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends by a vote of six to four that Judge Mary Lynne James BE RETAINED.

Judge James attended the University of Nebraska where she received a B.A. degree in German and Russian. Judge James received her law degree from the University of Nebraska Law School. She graduated from law school "with distinction" and Order of the Coif. After law school Judge James was a clerk for a Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court. Judge James had a private practice in Craig, Colorado from 1997 to 1984. She was appointed as a County Court Judge in October 1984. Judge James is a member of the State Judicial Probation Advisory Committee, a 10-year member of the Habitat Partnership Committee in Moffat County and is active in bringing legal education to all levels of public school. Judge James also conducts settlement conferences for district court civil cases.

The Commission personally interviewed Judge James and considered the results of a survey, which included verbatim comments, conducted by an independent agency to evaluate the performance of the judges. The Commission also considered a written self-evaluation completed by Judge James.

The survey responses raised concerns for the Commission in two areas. One area of concern was the grade given to Judge James on providing written communications in a clear, thorough and well-reasoned manner. Twenty-three percent of attorneys surveyed gave Judge James a "C" in this category, whereas the statewide average for county judges receiving a "C" grade from attorneys was 8%.

The second concern was the grade given to Judge James on ruling on motions in a timely manner. Twenty-three percent of attorneys surveyed gave Judge James a grade of "D" or "F", compared with 5% for all county judges statewide receiving a "D" or "F" grade. Twenty-three percent of attorneys and 59% of non-attorneys gave Judge James an "A" for ruling on motions in a timely manner. Judge James received an overall grade of a "C" from attorneys for ruling on motions in a timely manner, which was below the statewide average grade of a "B+".

Concerns were raised about Judge James’ judicial temperament with regard to her being patient, dignified and courteous to those she deals with in her official capacity. Survey results indicated Judge James fell below the statewide average on being prepared for all court matters.

Judge James was also concerned with the results and stated to the Commission she did not know where these responses might be coming from. She also stated that she did not have any cases at the time of the interview that were waiting on a written decision from her. Judge James stated she rules from the bench and written decisions are not very often required.

Concerns were raised about Judge James’ judicial temperament with regard to her being patient, dignified and courteous to those she deals with in her official capacity. She admits there are days when she can be short and firm with people in her court. Survey results indicated Judge James fell below the statewide average on being prepared for all court matters.

Of the attorneys surveyed, 77% recommended Judge James be retained and 77% of the non-attorneys surveyed recommended retention. The Commission was impressed with Judge James’ public service commitment. The Commission feels Judge James should be retained.