Thirteenth Judicial District - Kit Carson County Court Judge
Honorable Michael K. Grinnan
Retention Year: 2014
The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Michael K. Grinnan BE RETAINED.
Judge Grinnan was appointed to the bench in January 2007 where he serves as a part time County Court Judge. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Fort Lewis College in 1990 and a Juris Doctor degree from Denver University Law School in 1993. Judge Grinnan’s legal experience includes: Burlington City Attorney, county attorney for Yuma County, deputy district attorney and a private attorney practice. He is currently an active member of the Colorado County Attorney Association. In his community, Judge Grinnan is a board member for Hide-Away at Cameron Lane, a nonprofit horseback riding program for handicapped persons where he even uses his own personal horses in the program. He is an assistant head coach for the Burlington High School Wrestling Team and also tries to find time to attend his own children’s numerous athletic events.
Evaluation method used by the commission included reviews of current and interim 2013 Judicial Performance reports. These reports contained summaries of responses to survey questions and comments from attorneys and non-attorneys who had been involved in proceedings in Judge Grinnan’s court room. The non-attorneys surveyed included civil litigants, criminal defendants, jurors, witnesses, crime victims, court staff, interpreters and probation and law enforcement officers. The evaluation process also involved review of the Judge’s written self-evaluation, samples of the Judge’s transcribed oral decisions, courtroom observations by some members of the commission and an interview with the Judge. Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 94% recommended retaining Judge Grinnan and 6% recommended not to retain. Of non-attorneys surveyed, 82% recommended retaining Judge Grinnan, 6% not to retain, and 12% made no recommendation. (These percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.)
Evaluation averages of both attorneys and non-attorneys were slightly below the state average for all county judges eligible to stand for retention. Evaluation averages from attorneys were slightly lower than those of non-attorneys. In Judge Grinnan’s previous performance review, a concern from attorneys was that the Judge appeared to be defense orientated. The current survey results still showed a slight lean toward the defense in sentencing but there appears to be significant improvement in Judge Grinnans efforts to move toward a more neutral position. His strengths include striving to see that justice is done and he is very good at treating all parties with dignity. Weaknesses noted by attorneys focused on his ability to control the court room, but indicated that a majority of the time, this was not issue. Strengths noted by non-attorneys focused on the fact that Judge Grinnan ran a tight ship and that he used verbal examples to help defendants understand the issues. He is noted for being an outspoken, friendly and very generous person.