Third Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Bruce A. Billings
Retention Year: 2014
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Third Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance, by a unanimous vote of the eight Commissioners present, with two Commissioners being absent, recommends that Judge Bruce A. Billings BE RETAINED.
Judge Billings was appointed County Judge of Las Animas County on December 30, 2002, and assumed the bench on March 3, 2003. Prior to his appointment, he served as Trinidad City Attorney from 1983 to 2003. He also previously served as a Deputy District Attorney in Montrose County and Las Animas County. Judge Billings graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1977, and was admitted to practice in Colorado later that year.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Billings, reviewed opinions he authored, observed him in court, and reviewed surveys sent to attorneys and non-attorneys. Among the survey questions was “how strongly do you recommend that Judge Billings be retained in office, or not be retained in office?” Of attorneys responding to the survey, 97% recommended to retain, 0% not to retain, and 3% made no recommendation regarding retention. Of non-attorneys responding to the survey, 72% recommended to retain, 18% not to retain, and 10% made no recommendation regarding retention.
As reflected in its unanimous vote, the Commission believes that Judge Billings is a high caliber judge. Judge Billings presides over all types of cases, including civil, domestic relations, juvenile, criminal, traffic, and small claims. In addition to his county court duties, he handles certain district court matters and has initiated a DUI problem-solving court. Survey respondents repeatedly commented that he is fair and knowledgeable and bases decisions on facts and law. Based on courtroom observation and review of Judge Billings’ opinions, the Commission agrees with these comments. The attorneys who responded to the survey gave Judge Billings high marks, well above the state average for other county court judges. While the non-attorney marks were not as favorable, Judge Billings is conscious of the perceptions, and by actively working to address non-attorney concerns, has been able to raise his non-attorney score from previous years’ surveys. The Commission discussed with Judge Billings the non-attorney perceptions regarding his performance and is satisfied that Judge Billings will continue to address these concerns in future years. Overall, the Commission believes Judge Billings performs his job well and is an asset to the community.