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Hiatt, James 1994 Evaluation


Eighth Judicial District - District Court Judge

Honorable James H. Hiatt

Retention Year: 1994
Recommendation: Retain


Judge Hiatt was appointed to his position May 19, 1986. Prior to that he had been a Juvenile Commissioner and District Court Referee for the District, and attorney in private practice, managing attorney with Colorado Rural Legal Services and staff attorney with Legal Aid of Western Oklahoma. He graduated from the College of William and Mary and took his law degree at the University of Oklahoma. As a District Judge, he handles cases in the criminal, domestic relations, civil, and juvenile areas of law.

A survey assessing his performance was sent to jurors, litigants, courthouse personnel, law enforcement personnel, and attorneys. He was assessed by these groups in terms of: Sense of Justice, Fact-Finding, Treating Parties Equally, Knowledge of the Law, Knowledge of Evidence and Procedure, Settlements, Clarity of Decisions, Appropriate Demeanor, Courtroom and Docket Control, Courtesy, Compassion, Diligence, Promptness, and Fairness.

He was ranked favorably by greater than 92% of the respondents in these groups. The number of attorneys returning the surveys was considerably greater than were the numbers in other groupings. This was true generally of all Judges being evaluated in the State.

Included in the surveys were written comments as well as tabulated response. Of the written comments, most were positive. They included such statement s as: “excellent judge,” “outstanding trial judge,” “thorough,” “an excellent example,” “the best in District,” “extremely fair,” and “does a great job.” Some negative comments were made, including “too rigid” and “harsh” in sentencing and resists making “unpopular decision.”

The Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Hiatt BE RETAINED.