The Twenty-First Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously finds that the Honorable Judge Richard T. Gurley MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS, by a vote of 9 – 0.
Judge Gurley is known for his collegial bench. In his judicial performance survey conducted by the State Judicial Department, 95% of attorneys found that Judge Gurley met performance standards (5% of respondents had no opinion) and 62% of non-attorneys found that Judge Gurley met standards (31% of respondents had no opinion). The Judicial Performance Commission assessed the integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and the public. Judge Gurley received solid scores in all these areas with only a small concern for delay in orders and pre-trial rulings. However, it should be noted that Judge Gurley is within benchmark standards for closing cases in the State of Colorado. Survey respondents describe his courtroom as fair and neutral and Judge Gurley as having an “even demeanor” with “clear control of his courtroom.” Judge Gurley treats victims with kindness and respect. In his interview with the Performance Commission, Judge Gurley wanted everyone to feel that he “gave them a fair shake,” that he listened and that those before him felt heard.
In addition to reviewing the survey results from individuals that are in Judge Gurley’s courtroom, the Performance Commission observed his courtroom, reviewed some of his authored orders, and interviewed the Chief Judge of the 21st Judicial District, representatives from the District Attorney’s office and the Public Defender’s office. Judge Gurley was observed to be kind, patient, and treated those before him with respect. Though attorneys have previously reported that he was not timely in starting his docket, Judge Gurley has effectively addressed this concern. Judge Gurley has also received a solid performance ratings from appellate judges.
Judge Gurley was an attorney in private practice before being appointed as a Mesa County District Judge in September 2006. Criminal cases make up most of his docket followed by domestic relations, civil, probate, and dependency and neglect cases. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) since 2009 and has also served as a Pre-Law Advisor for CMU students. He volunteers for Special Olympics of Western Colorado, and has volunteered at local high schools, and Homeward Bound. The Performance Commission finds Judge Gurley to be a valuable member of the bench in the Twenty-First Judicial District.