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Mitchel, John 2002 Evaluation


Seventh Judicial District - Montrose County Court Judge

Honorable John J. Mitchel 

Retention Year: 2002
Recommendation: Retain

The Seventh Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge John J. Mitchel BE RETAINED

Judge Mitchel is a graduate of the Catholic University of America, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received his law degree from the University of Colorado. Judge Mitchel was admitted to the practice of law in Colorado in 1982. He spent 16 years in private practice, where he specialized in the defense of criminal cases, commercial and real estate law; and before that he served two years as a Deputy District Attorney. He served two years as a substitute Montrose Municipal Court Judge before being appointed Montrose County Court Judge in June of 2000.

Judge Mitchel presides over the largest caseload in the Seventh Judicial District (approximately 3,700 cases per year), including cases that require immediate judicial intervention. In addition to county court, Judge Mitchel presides over small claims court, drug court and periodically sits as a district court judge by special appointment. Judge Mitchel’s workload consists of 35% civil, 10% domestic relations, 12% traffic, 20% felony, 1% juvenile and 22% misdemeanor cases.

Judge Mitchel describes his strengths as his thoroughness and accurate research skills together with his ability to communicate with all types of people regardless of background, gender or nationality. Judge Mitchel’s goals for the next year are to be better prepared for every case, trust his instincts more and to develop constructive reactions to frustrations. His overall objectives are to provide better service and help to improve the quality of life in Montrose County.

Judge Mitchel, aside from his work on the bench, is involved in community work, but has withdrawn from some community service due to conflicts that arise with people appearing in his court.

The Commission conducted public hearings, interviews with attorneys and non-attorneys, a personal interview with the judge and reviewed the self-evaluation completed by Judge Mitchel. Seventy-nine percent of attorneys responding to the evaluation recommended that Judge Mitchel be retained in office. Of the non-attorneys, 67% recommended retention. The Commission found Judge Mitchel to be a hard worker, a good listener, readily available and ethical. His integrity as a judge is unquestionable. He acknowledges that the high volume of cases may lead to delays and some negative comments from litigants. He is a clear, plain-speaking communicator who works hard at being prepared and loves his job. The Commission recommends that Montrose County Court Judge Mitchel be retained.