Eighteenth Judicial District - Arapahoe County Judge
Honorable Michael J. Roche
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Eighteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously (10-0) agrees that Judge Michael J. Roche MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Judge Roche was appointed as an Arapahoe County judge in 2016. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan. After graduation, he clerked for federal district judge Howard McKibben. From 1991 until his appointment to the bench in 2016, Judge Roche practiced complex civil litigation at two national law firms. Judge Roche is very committed to serving the community. He serves on the Colorado County Court Civil Rules committee. He is active with the Arapahoe County Bar Association Access to Justice Committee, where he is working to make the judicial system more accessible and understandable to ordinary citizens. For many years, Judge Roche has coached the Arapahoe High School mock trial team. Outside the legal system, Judge Roche volunteers as a fly fishing guide for a national breast cancer charity. In 2017, the Arapahoe County Bar Association honored Judge Roche with its outstanding public service award.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Roche, reviewed opinions he authored, observed him in court, reviewed comments received from interested parties during the evaluation, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had experience with Judge Roche. 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, 67% answered yes, meets performance standards, 24% answered no, does not meet performance standards and 10% had no opinion (these percentages do not equal 100% due to rounding). Of the non-attorneys responding to the survey, 66% answered yes, meets performance standards, 28% answered no, does not meet performance standards, and 6% had no opinion. Twenty-two attorneys and thirty-two non-attorneys responded to the judicial performance surveys expressing their opinion of Judge Roche’s performance.
Judge Roche presides over civil and small claims cases at the Littleton Court Annex. Judge Roche received above average marks in case management, diligence, communications, and demeanor from attorneys surveyed. Among non-attorneys, Judge Roche received above average marks in diligence and communication. In his interview with the Commission Judge Roche stated that he was humbled by his somewhat lower scores in the areas of application and knowledge of the law and demeanor. Judge Roche stated that he will make every effort to improve in these areas. The Commission noted that Judge Roche has instituted several positive case management practices that have required attorneys and litigants to be prepared to prove all aspects of their claims. Judge Roche sets high expectations of himself and the attorneys who appear before him. The Commission greatly appreciated the candor and humility that Judge Roche displayed in his interview with the Commission. Based on these findings, the Commission unanimously agreed that Judge Roche meets judicial performance standards.