Seventh Judicial District - San Miguel County Court Judge
Honorable Sean Murphy
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Seventh Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission unanimously agree that Judge Sean Murphy MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS, with a unanimous agreement among the Commissioners who interviewed Judge Murphy. The Colorado statutory judicial performance standards are integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and the public.
The Commission interviewed Judge Murphy via zoom video conference on June 6, 2022, with various Commissioners observing him in Court, either in person or via electronic means. The Commission also spoke with representatives of the District Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office, and with the Chief District Court Judge for the Seventh Judicial District. In addition to the interviews, the Commission reviewed Judge Murphy’s Judicial Performance Data, several written Court Orders, Judge Murphy’s Self-Evaluation, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had experience with Judge Murphy. Those surveyed were asked, “Do you think Judge Murphy meets performance standards?” Of the attorneys responding, 50% believe he meets performance standards and 50% do not believe that he meets performance standards. Of the non-attorneys responding, 20% believe that he meets performance standards, 40% believe he does not, and 40% did not have an opinion as to whether he meets performance standards. The Commission notes that there were very few survey responses, thus making the survey results somewhat unreliable but nonetheless useful as an evaluation tool.
During Courtroom observations, Judge Murphy was observed as being thorough and well prepared, with Commissioners observing that Judge Murphy took time and care to explain courtroom rulings and the application of law. The Commission also observed that Judge Murphy did not wear his judicial robe when he appeared in Court remotely via WebEx video. Given the somewhat informal nature of these proceedings, the Commission unanimously recommends that Judge Murphy appear in his judicial robe when he is presiding by video means. In reviewing survey responses, and in accordance with the interviews the Commissioners conducted, the Commission believes that Judge Murphy often fails to start court on time. The Commission discussed this reported lateness with Judge Murphy, who admitted to being tardy on occasion. Judge Murphy explained that his occasional tardiness resulted from him taking time to review the cases on his docket prior to court, with him preferring to be prepared rather than being on time. While the Commission appreciates Judge Murphy’s desire to become familiar with the merits of the cases on his docket prior to beginning court, the Commission was unanimous in its opinion that the Judge needs both to be prepared and to start court on time.
Judge Murphy was appointed as San Miguel County Court Judge in 2020. Judge Murphy was previously both a Town Councilor and Mayor for the Town of Telluride. Judge Murphy remains in private practice and is of counsel to the law firm of Tueller & Gibbs. Judge Murphy received his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College, in 1991, and his Juris Doctor from Duke Law School in 1996.