Twelfth Judicial District - Alamosa County Court Judge
Honorable Michael A. Gonzales
Retention Year: 2010
The Twelfth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends, by an 8 to 2 vote, that Judge Michael A. Gonzales BE RETAINED.
Judge Gonzales was appointed to the Alamosa County bench on September 6, 2007. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science/History from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1993, and a law degree from the University Of Colorado School Of Law in Boulder, Colorado in 1996. Judge Gonzales is a member of the board of directors for: Caring for Colorado, Twelfth Judicial District Juvenile Services Planning Committee, and the San Luis Valley Bar Association Pro Bono Project. He stays connected to the community by being involved in youth coaching activities.
As Alamosa County Judge, Judge Gonzales presides over traffic cases, misdemeanors, petty offenses, felony preliminary hearings, small claims, and civil cases not exceeding $15,000. Currently his workload consists of 20% civil, 15% criminal, 20% misdemeanor, 23% traffic, 20% traffic infractions, and 2% small claims cases. Previous to his appointment to the bench Judge Gonzales held the position of Chief Deputy District Attorney for the Twelfth Judicial District from March 2001 to September 2007 and Deputy District Attorney from February 1997 to March 2001. Prior to his service as a district attorney Judge Gonzales was in private practice.
Judge Gonzales is given high marks by attorneys for maintaining appropriate control over proceedings and treating participants with respect. He is applauded for his consistency and providing guidance to the new district attorney and deputies, and public defenders. It must be noted that the Commission did hear some negative comments from some who feel that Judge Gonzales can lose his patience and let his temper get the best of him. This is a short-coming to which he admits and is working hard to correct. The Commission would encourage continued improvement in his court demeanor. Judge Gonzales also admitted that he could use additional training in civil areas of law, and the Commission agrees. It is the Commission’s opinion that Judge Gonzales would benefit from the intense training offered by the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. Comments received by the Commission indicate that there is general public approval of Judge Gonzales and it appears that he is well respected in the community and viewed as a fair and honest Judge. While staying connected to the community is important, the Commission feels that Judge Gonzales should avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 85% recommended to retain, 5% not to retain, and 11% expressed no opinion. Excluding those who had no opinion, 94% recommended to retain and 6% not to retain. Of all non-attorneys surveyed, 74% recommended to retain, 7% not to retain, and 20% expressed no opinion. Excluding those who had no opinion, 78% recommended to retain and 22% not to retain. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)