Eighteenth Judicial District - Arapahoe County Court Judge
Honorable Michael J. Roche
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Eighteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance finds, by a vote of 7-0 (with three Commissioners not participating) that Judge Michael J. Roche 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 Roche presides over civil, criminal, misdemeanor, and traffic matters in Arapahoe County, Colorado. Judge Roche’s strengths include case management, communications, diligence, and demeanor. As described by those that have interacted with him, he is fair, respectful, approachable, and professional. During his personal interview and while being observed during court proceedings, the traits previously described were consistent with the experience of the commission. Judge Roche stays current in jurisprudence by reviewing case announcements provided by the Colorado Supreme Court and by reviewing relevant court decisions and case law in his areas of expertise. He uses the knowledge gained in these reviews to refine his Judicial Officer skills and written decisions.
The Commission met with Chief Judge Michelle A. Amico to discuss her interactions with Judge Roche, as well as with members of the District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office and the Probation Office, to discuss their impressions of Judge Roche’s performance. The Commission members also conducted a personal interview with Judge Roche, observed him during court proceedings, and reviewed judicial performance survey responses from attorneys and non- attorneys that interacted with him in his courtroom. The surveys reflected personal opinions on Judge Roche’s Case Management, Application and Knowledge of the Law, Communications, Diligence, Demeanor, and Fairness. Of the forty-eight (48) completed surveys returned Judge Roche achieved an overall performance rating of 3.6 of a possible 4.0, compared to all County Judges at a rating of 3.4. His ratings for meeting performance standards from attorneys was 89%, and 91% from non-attorneys. Among the survey questions was, "Based on your responses to the previous questions related to the performance evaluation criteria, do you think Judge Roche meets judicial performance standards?" Of the attorneys responding to the survey, 89% answered yes, meets performance standards and 5% answered no, does not meet performance standards. Of the non-attorneys responding to the survey, 91% answered yes, meets performance standards and 9% answered no, does not meet performance standards. Forty-Eight individuals responded to the judicial performance surveys expressing their opinions of Judge Roche’s performance. Based on these findings the Commission unanimously agreed that Judge Roche meets performance standards.
Judge Roche was appointed as an Arapahoe County judge in 2016. Judge Roche received a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1987 and a J.D. from the University of Michigan School of Law in 1990. Prior to joining the court, Roche was a founding partner of Lathrop & Gage LLP's Denver office. His professional experience also includes working as an attorney at Baker Hostetler and serving as a law clerk to Judge Howard McKibben of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.