Thirteenth Judicial District - Phillips County Court Judge
Honorable Kimbra Leigh Killin
Retention Year: 2016
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously (9-0, with one Commissioner absent) recommends that Judge Kimbra Leigh Killin BE RETAINED.
Judge Killin earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Regis University in 1990, where she graduated magna cum laude, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Denver in 1994. Judge Killin was appointed as Phillips County Court Judge in May of 2014. Her docket consists mostly of traffic, civil, and criminal matters. As a part-time judge, she continues to work as an attorney in private practice, to participate in management of the family farm and ranch businesses, and to serve on community boards, currently the Leland Trust and the Holyoke Schools Scholarship Trust.
The Commission reviewed completed surveys from attorney and non-attorney respondents familiar with Judge Killin. Three attorneys and nineteen non-attorney respondents indicated that they had worked with her enough to evaluate her performance. All of the attorneys recommended retention; among non-attorneys, 84% recommended to retain and 16% had no opinion. In addition to the survey responses and comments, the Commission also reviewed the Judge’s Self-Evaluation, a sampling of her written rulings, and conducted courtroom observations and an interview with the Judge.
When survey results were compared to all County Court Judges in Colorado, Judge Killin’s overall score in each of the following categories was above the state average: knowledge and application of the law, communication, diligence, demeanor, and fairness. Judge Killin scored slightly below the state average in the category of case management. Survey comments were overwhelmingly positive and reflected strength in the areas of legal research, preparedness, humility, communicating effectively with litigants who do not have an attorney, exhibiting a pleasant and respectful demeanor, professionalism, and educating herself on areas of the law with which she is less familiar. The Commission noted that, although Judge Killin did not have significant criminal law experience prior to her appointment, survey comments praised her for taking the initiative to educate herself in this area of the law and it appears that she has been successful in doing so. During her interview with the Commission, Judge Killin demonstrated an understanding of some of the cultural factors which impact cases before her and discussed the unique challenges of serving as a judicial officer in a small, rural community. It was apparent from her interview, courtroom observations, and survey comments that Judge Killin is mindful of setting appropriate boundaries in order to ensure the public’s confidence in the fairness, neutrality, and objectivity of the legal process, and that her familiarity with individuals in the community does not influence the way she treats them in the courtroom. While Judge Killin’s caring and approachable nature is a strength, courtroom observations suggested she might reinforce the public’s perception of the dignity of the court and the seriousness of its proceedings by increasing the formality of proceedings.