Seventeenth Judicial District - Adams County Judge
Honorable Byron Lynn Howell
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Seventeenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance finds that the Honorable Byron Lynn Howell MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS. Five members of the Commission voted that Judge Howell met judicial performance standards, while the other five members voted that he did not meet judicial performance standards.
Judge Howell was appointed to the County Court in 2008. He previously served as a Deputy City and County Attorney in Broomfield prior to his appointment. Before that, he served as Washington County Attorney, an Assistant Morgan County Attorney and the supervisor of the Pre-Trial Services Unit in San Diego Superior Court. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1978, his Juris Doctor from the University of Wyoming in 1994 and his Master of Public Administration from San Diego State University in 2003.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Howell, reviewed opinions he authored, observed him in court, reviewed comments received from interested parties during the evaluation, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had experience with Judge Howell. Those surveyed were asked, "based on your responses to the previous questions related to the performance evaluation criteria, do you think Judge Howell meets judicial performance standards?" Of the 47 attorneys responding to the surveys, 66% believe that Judge Howell meets performance standards, 26% believe he does not meet performance standards, and 9% had no opinion. Judge Howell received ratings below the statewide average among all County Court judges standing for retention with regard to all the areas surveyed: (1) case management, (2) application and knowledge of law, (3) communications, (4) demeanor, and (5) diligence. Of the 33 non-attorneys responding to the survey, 75% believe Judge Howell meets performance standards, 16% believe he does not, and 9% had no opinion. Judge Howell received ratings below the statewide average among all County Court judges standing for retention with regard to most areas surveyed: (1) demeanor, (2) fairness, (3) communications, and (4) diligence, and (5) application of the law.
After meeting with Judge Howell, and after reviewing his work over the last four years, and after assessing feedback from attorneys and non-attorneys, the Commission was evenly split as to whether he meets judicial performance. Although much of his work is satisfactory, his overall performance was not strong enough to gain a majority of the Commission’s support. While many on the Commission believe Judge Howell effectively applies the law to the facts before him, others believe that he is ineffective with regard to case management, communication and administration. Judge Howell is actively engaged in training and education to improve his caseflow management and administration. Based on all the aforementioned considerations, the Judicial Performance Commission recommends that Judge Howell meets performance standards.