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Porter, W. Michael 2002 Evaluation


Fifteenth Judicial District - Baca County Court Judge

Honorable W. Michael Porter

Retention Year: 2002
Recommendation: Retain

The Fifteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge W. Michael Porter BE RETAINED.

Judge Porter received his undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and his law degree from University of Puget Sound, School of Law in Tacoma, Washington. Judge Porter was appointed to the Baca County bench in January 1995. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Porter was in private and public practice in Springfield, Colorado, and continues to be a part-time sole practitioner.

The Commission reviewed written evaluations of Judge Porter from attorneys and non-attorneys, including written verbatim comments attached to the evaluation questionnaires. The Commission also considered a written self-evaluation completed by Judge Porter, conducted a personal interview with the judge and held a public hearing.

Judge Porter speaks at the local schools about the judiciary and its functions. Local schools also occasionally visit the court and ask questions of Judge Porter and the attorneys in his courtroom.

Of the attorneys surveyed, 100% recommended Judge Porter be retained. Of non-attorneys responding to the questionnaire, 75% recommended retention, 16% recommended non-retention and 8% had no opinion.

There were two areas of concern in regards to Judge Porter’s performance in the courtroom. Those two concerns were his ability to explain courtroom procedure to people without attorneys and starting court on time. In response to these concerns, Judge Porter explained he makes efforts to not inappropriately explain and apply the laws and procedural rules. To allow litigants without attorneys to deal with questions of law or procedure, he will grant
litigants time to obtain an attorney if they desire. Even though starting court on time is a problem in most courts within the system, Judge Porter has taken steps to solve the problem. Despite these concerns, Judge Porter received high ratings from both attorneys and non-attorneys in virtually every category, particularly in the areas of being able to maintain proper judicial demeanor, correctly applying the law, treating people with respect and treating parties equally.