Thirteenth Judicial District - Kit Carson County Court Judge
Honorable Michael K. Grinnan
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance agrees unanimously (8-0, with one member absent and one vacancy) that Judge Michael K. Grinnan MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS. 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.
Judge Grinnan has been serving as Kit Carson County Court Judge since 2007. This is a part-time (currently 30%) position. Judge Grinnan’s County Court docket consists primarily of traffic, civil, criminal, misdemeanor, and a limited number of small claims cases. Having served in this role for approximately 15 years, Judge Grinnan exhibits confidence and comfort, with a good command of applicable law and procedure. He is mindful that his position is public-facing, and that for most members of the public, appearing in County Court may be the only chance they may have to interact with the legal system. In his interview, he spoke about his efforts to “humanize” defendants, many of whom he views as “good people who make bad decisions” (serious or violent criminal cases are not heard in County Court). Judge Grinnan has a pleasant demeanor and effective communication style that ensures all parties in a case understand the process and outcome.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Grinnan, reviewed a sampling of his written rulings, observed him in court, and reviewed comments and responses from a survey of individuals familiar with Judge Grinnan. Of those who completed the survey, only 2 attorney and 6 non-attorney respondents indicated that they had worked with Judge Grinnan enough to evaluate his performance. Judge Grinnan’s survey scores were mixed, although the Commission placed limited weight upon the survey results due to the small number of respondents. Based upon the Commission’s overall evaluation, Judge Grinnan demonstrates that he meets performance standards in all categories reviewed (integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and public).
Judge Grinnan earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Fort Lewis College in 1990 and his Juris Doctorate from the Denver University Law School in 1993. As a part-time judge, he also maintains a private law practice handling cases pertaining to personal injury, wills, trusts, estates, and family law. Judge Grinnan has also served northeast Colorado in the following capacities in the past: Burlington City Attorney, 13th Judicial District Magistrate, county attorney for Yuma County, and deputy district attorney. He enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren, as well as hunting, fishing, and hiking in the mountains.