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Callahan, Thomas 2002 Evaluation


Thirteenth Judicial District - Yuma County Court Judge

Honorable Thomas J. Callahan 

Retention Year: 2002
Recommendation: Retain

The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Thomas J. Callahan BE RETAINED.

Judge Callahan was appointed to the County Court bench on January 3, 1992. He presides over civil, traffic and misdemeanor cases together with some District Court matters as a Magistrate. Judge Callahan is a long-time resident of Yuma County and had been an attorney in private practice prior to his appointment to the bench. As a part-time County Judge, he still maintains an active private practice in Wray, Colorado.

Surveys reveal that courthouse personnel, attorneys, law enforcement officials, litigants, victims and jurors questioned rated Judge Callahan’s performance above average to average overall. Judge Callahan received high marks, particularly from attorneys, for his efficiency, use of court time and docket management. This is so in spite of a relative lack of resources available to the court system in Yuma County.

Nevertheless, Judge Callahan received more than average criticism from non-attorneys for perceived racial bias and impatience. This perception of racial bias may be caused by the high number of undocumented defendants who appear before him, often times as repeat offenders, on the charges of driving without a valid driver’s license, no auto insurance and alcohol related driving offenses. Because these defendants are not legally in the United States, they pose unique and difficult problems at the bonding and sentencing levels. As a result, 43% of non-attorneys surveyed favored retention of Judge Callahan, 33% did not and 23% expressed no opinion. Seventy-four percent of the non-attorneys surveyed indicated that he maintained an above average to average professional demeanor in the courtroom.