Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2012 Full List Judge MacDonnell

Sixteenth Judicial District - Bent County Judge

2012 Retention Survey Report
2011 Interim Survey Report
2009 Interim Survey Report
There is a more recent evaluation available for this judge. You can access the evaluation here.

Honorable Mark A. MacDonnell

Retention year: 2012
Recommendation: Retain

The Sixteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends by a vote of 10-0 that Judge Mark A. MacDonnell BE RETAINED.

Judge MacDonnell was appointed Bent County Judge on October 30, 1993.  Judge MacDonnell also maintains a private practice in Las Animas, Colorado and prior to that worked for Lutz and Oliver in Arvada, Colorado.  He received his Bachelors of Arts from Adams State College and Juris Doctorate from the University of Colorado.  Judge MacDonnell balances a part time county court docket in Bent County with a private practice specializing in representing local governments and agencies, child welfare, adult protection, estate planning, real estate, and civil litigation.   His service to the legal profession includes an Executive Committee Membership with the Colorado County Attorney's Association for which he received a Distinguished Service Award, an Executive Board seat with the County Court Judges Association, and serving as a past president of the Sixteenth Judicial District Bar Association.  In service to the state and community, Judge MacDonnell is a board member sitting on the executive committee for the Bent County Development Foundation, a past president of the Bent County Library District, a member of the Las Animas High School Academic Accountability Committee, and past president of the Lions Club.  Judge MacDonnell also lends his talents to Helping Hands of Las Animas and the Arkansas Valley Pregnancy Advisory Board.

Judge MacDonnell runs his courtroom efficiently and received positive comments from attorneys and commission members for running his docket on the record.  The Commission did have questions regarding the balance of being a part time county judge and maintaining a private law office.  However, Judge MacDonnell assured the Commission that he does thorough conflict checks on all cases appearing before his court.  Judge MacDonnell demonstrates excellent knowledge of the law and shows great dedication to ensuring that all who appear before his court are treated with respect and equanimity.  Members of the Commission did have some minor concerns regarding the advisement of pro se litigants of their right to counsel in criminal matters.  Judge MacDonnell addressed and acknowledged those concerns and the Commission does not believe that this is matter of any ongoing concern.  Indeed, Judge MacDonnell consistently insures that criminal defendants appearing without counsel are not unduly prejudiced by a bad plea decision.  He will reject a plea he believes too harsh or inconsistent with other like cases.   In evaluating Judge MacDonnell the Commission reviewed survey results from lawyers and non-lawyers, held a public hearing, interviewed the judge, reviewed a selection of transcripts of rulings, and observed him in open court.

Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 82% recommended to retain, 9% not to retain, and 9% were undecided or didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation.  Of those expressing an opinion to retain or not to retain, 90% recommended to retain and 10% not to retain.  Of all non-attorneys surveyed, 73% recommended to retain, 14% not to retain, and 13% were undecided or didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation.  Of those expressing an opinion to retain or not to retain, 84% recommended to retain and 17% not to retain. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)  It should be noted that the statistics relied upon for this survey are sparse.  The sample size of lawyers was 22 and the sample size for non- lawyers was 105.