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Lowenbach, J. Robert 2002 Evaluation


Nineteenth Judicial District - District Court Judge

Honorable J. Robert Lowenbach

Retention Year: 2002
Recommendation: Retain

The Nineteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge J. Robert Lowenbach BE RETAINED.

Judge Lowenbach was appointed to the District Court in November 1993. Prior to his appointment, he was a District Court Magistrate. Judge Lowenbach currently hears 100% criminal cases. His community service involvement includes public education on the judicial branch of government and volunteer work for child abuse victims, the homeless and the growth and development needs of young children.

Fifty percent of the 36 attorneys responding to the survey recommended that Judge Lowenbach be retained. The average for all district judges is 85%. Of the 216 non-attorneys surveyed, 77% recommended retention; the average for all district judges is also 85%.

The attorneys who responded to the survey ranked Judge Lowenbach lower on each of the 26 questions than the average scores received by all district judges. The two lowest rankings from attorneys were on questions involving listening patiently to all testimony and on providing quick access to the court for emergencies. The non-attorneys ranked him equal to or slightly lower on each of their 21 survey questions.

Although there was some concern expressed that he is "too lenient" in sentencing, Judge Lowenbach believes this criticism is unjustified and is based on two cases that received publicity. He does not believe this criticism is reflective of his full sentencing approach.
The Commission was impressed by Judge Lowenbach's interview, in which he showed a sincere desire to address the weaknesses that were revealed in the surveys. He also indicated that he has already made changes that will provide more flexibility in his court and will provide quicker access to the courts for emergencies.