Fourteenth Judicial District - Routt County Judge
Honorable James H. Garrecht
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
Recommendation: The Fourteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously (9-0) voted that Judge James H. Garrecht MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Background: Judge Garrecht is a graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and obtained his Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell Law School in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1979. Judge Garrecht was appointed to the Routt County Court in 1987. Before his appointment, he served as a Deputy District Attorney in the 15th Judicial District in 1979, a Deputy District Attorney for the 14th Judicial District from 1980 to 1982, and was in private practice in Steamboat Springs from 1982 – 1987. In private practice, he focused on criminal and domestic relations law. Judge Garrecht presides over all County Court cases filed in Routt County, including civil, small claims, misdemeanor, felony, traffic offenses and traffic infraction cases. He regularly conducts bench and jury trials.
Evaluation Methodology: Judge Garrecht was evaluated as to Integrity, Legal Knowledge, Communication, Judicial Temperament, Administrative Performance (Management) and Service to the Legal Profession. The Commission reviewed written evaluations from attorneys and non-attorneys, including verbatim comments attached to evaluation questionnaires, as well as other written communications critiquing him. The Commission also considered Judge Garrecht’s self-evaluation and written orders and opinions that he selected and submitted for review. Commission members personally observed Judge Garrecht in his courtroom, and Judge Garrecht sat for an interview before the Commission. Of the attorneys surveyed, 85% found Judge Garrecht to meet performance standards, 5% found that he does not meet those standards, and 10% expressed no opinion. Of non-attorneys surveyed, 92% found he meets performance standards, 4% found that he does not, and 4% expressed no opinion.
Performance: There were no significant areas of deficiency noted from the evaluation of Judge Garrecht that required this Commission’s attention. Judge Garrecht’s performance exceeds the standards of performance by which county judges are evaluated. Judge Garrecht scores very highly in matters of integrity, communication, judicial temperament, administrative skills and community service. His “people skills” and management of his courtroom are exemplary. He received many favorable comments regarding his courtroom demeanor. As to areas of improvement, which were deemed to be minor in nature, the Commission addressed with Judge Garrecht the need to speak more slowly when providing repetitive instructions to defendants in criminal cases. Judge Garrecht self-identifies as a weakness the need to improve his technology skills – although this does not cause the Commission concern or to doubt the accuracy of its findings.