Thirteenth Judicial District - Yuma County Judge
Honorable Kristei Ray Jones
Retention Year: 2020
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance finds that the Honorable Kristei Ray Jones MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS. Six members of the Commission voted that Judge Jones meets performance standards; no members voted that he does not meet performance standards (three members did not participate and there is one vacancy on the Commission).
Judge Jones has been serving as the Yuma County Court Judge for about two years, with a docket consisting primarily of traffic, misdemeanor, civil, and small claims matters. This is a part-time position. Judge Jones is a lay judge with no prior formal legal training or experience. Judge Jones has been working diligently over this term to learn the law and legal procedure and appears to be increasing his proficiency in this regard. He has compensated for his lack of training and education in the law by spending additional time researching and preparing for hearings. Judge Jones has demonstrated a willingness, commitment, and ability to do the work necessary to continue to grow in this position. The Commission believes that he has made satisfactory progress in this regard during his first two years on the bench. The Commission has no concerns about Judge Jones’ judicial temperament, integrity, administrative performance, or communication skills. Judge Jones expressed a desire to turn his greatest weakness, namely his lack of prior legal education or training, into an asset. He has found that his own experiences trying to navigate an unfamiliar court system enable him to relate to and communicate more effectively with individuals representing themselves in the courtroom. This is a valuable skill, given that these individuals make up a significant portion of litigants and present a challenge for all judges.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Jones. It also reviewed recordings of court proceedings; written materials, including a self-evaluation and orders issued; and survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had interaction with Judge Jones in court. The Commission placed limited weight on the survey results, due to the small number of responses (only seven individuals responded). Survey responses did reflect notably strong performance in case management and a number of respondents remarked that Judge Jones consistently starts court on time, runs an efficient courtroom, and rules on matters promptly. During his interview with the Commission, Judge Jones reflected on some of the things he had learned from survey responses and changes he had implemented as a result. It is evident that he is adapting based upon feedback and eager to perform well in this position.
Judge Jones is a cattle rancher, and previously owned an agricultural fertilizer and pesticide application business in Wray. He was a Volunteer Fireman in Wauneta and Wray from 1995 to 2019; was a member of Wray City Council from 2004-2008; and served as the Mayor of Wray from 2008-2012. He earned his high school diploma from Yuma High School in 1985 and is a veteran of the United States Army.