Twentieth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Morris W. Sandstead Jr.
Retention Year: 1998
The Twentieth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Morris W. Sandstead, Jr. BE RETAINED.
Judge Sandstead is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Colorado School of Law. He spent 15 years in the private practice of law before being appointed District Judge in 1982.
His workload involves mainly criminal cases. He handles juvenile and civil assignments as well. Judge Sandstead has expertise in complex civil litigation, having presided over 18 jury trials involving asbestos claims. He serves on the executive committee of the Mass Tort Litigation Committee of the Conference of Chief Justices of the States, a national group created to assist the courts in resolving large numbers of cases with similar fact and legal issues.
Based on a sampling of attorneys responding to questionnaires, Judge Sandstead was found to be courteous to those in his courtroom, very considerate of jurors and unbiased in his treatment of all parties. Attorneys indicated the judge protects the rights of unrepresented litigants, is clear in both written and oral communications, listens patiently, is punctual and manages his docket in a timely manner. Use of court time, preparation, decisions based on the law and facts, and Judge Sandstead's knowledge of evidence and procedure were all rated well above average.
Of the 28 attorneys randomly surveyed, 17 responded, with 100% favoring retention.
A random sampling of 25 court and probation employees with 17 responding, revealed 14 or 82.4% recommending retention. Those employees expressing no opinion as to Judge Sandstead's retention totaled 2 or 11.8% and 1 court or probation employee or 5.9% surveyed indicated he should not be retained. The survey gave high marks to Judge Sandstead on courtesy, unbiased treatment of all parties, protection of unrepresented parties' rights, oral and written communications, and dignified and professional demeanor in the courtroom. The judge's preparation and his decisions based on the law received very favorable rating by the court and probation employees.
Of the 141 law enforcement personnel randomly surveyed, 34 responded with 27 respondents or 79.4% favoring retention of Judge Sandstead. Law enforcement personnel indicating Judge Sandstead should not be retained totaled 4 or 11.8%. Three respondents from the law enforcement community or 8.8% of the total number responding had no opinion as to his retention.