Sixteenth Judicial District - Otero County Judge
Honorable Douglas R. Manley
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Judicial Performance Commission for the 16th Judicial District finds by a unanimous vote of 10-0 that the Honorable Douglas R. Manley MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Judge Manley received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver and his law degree from the University of Colorado. Judge Manley served as deputy district attorney from 1978 until 1982 and maintained a private practice from 1982 until his appointment as Otero County Judge in 2004. As a part-time judge, Judge Manley is able to maintain a small private practice and serve as municipal judge in many neighboring communities. Judge Manley is active in the community and serves as a deacon at the local Catholic Church.
In reaching this decision, the Commission reviewed Judicial Performance Survey Reports gathered from attorneys and non-attorneys who appeared in front of Judge Manley between 2014 and 2017. The Commission also considered comments from the district attorney and office head of the La Junta Regional Office of the Colorado State Public Defender, held a public hearing, reviewed written materials from Judge Manley, and examined case statistics for the Otero County Court. Further, Commission members engaged in courtroom observation and conducted an interview with Judge Manley. In the Survey Report, respondents gave Judge Manley an overall grade of 3.38 on a 4.0 scale, with attorneys giving Judge Manley a grade of 3.62 and non-attorneys giving a grade of 3.32. Of the 64 survey respondents who agreed that they had worked with Judge Manley enough to evaluate his performance, 86% believed that Judge Manley meets the performance standards, while 9% felt he did not meet the performance standards, and 5% offered no opinion. The Commission notes the small sample size of 64 qualified responses out of 1,119 surveys that were mailed to potential respondents.
Judge Manley continues to impress the Commission and survey respondents with his legal knowledge and the thoroughness of both his oral and written orders. Further, Judge Manley’s compassionate demeanor in the courtroom strikes an appropriate balance between giving proceedings a sense of dignity while also showing respect for litigants. Judge Manley’s actions since his last evaluation are testament to his willingness to accept constructive criticism by this Commission and adopt new practices that have made him a superior judge and an asset to the legal community. The Commission noted that survey respondents continue to express difficulty hearing Judge Manley at times, which appears to have as much to do with the layout and acoustics of the courtroom as it does with Judge Manley’s somewhat soft-spoken demeanor. The Commission appreciates Judge Manley’s willingness to take on additional responsibilities such as mentoring a non-lawyer county court judge in the district, training other judges on case management strategies, and being on-call to sign warrants for law enforcement officers for 3 months out of the year despite his position being only part-time. Overall, the Commission is pleased with Judge Manley’s performance and believes he is an asset to the community.