Thirteenth Judicial District - District Judge
Honorable Michael Keith Singer
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously agrees (8-0, with two members absent) that Chief Judge Michael Keith Singer MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Judge Singer has been a District Court Judge since 2003. He has also served as Chief Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District since 2009. Judge Singer earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1978. Immediately prior to his appointment, he practiced general law in Sterling for 20 years and served as Sterling’s Municipal Court Judge for 3 years. Judge Singer is a Colorado native.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Singer, reviewed a sampling of his written rulings, observed him in court, and reviewed comments and responses from a survey of individuals familiar with Judge Singer. Of those who completed the survey, 11 attorneys, 9 Appellate Judges, and 64 non-attorneys indicated that they had worked with him enough to evaluate his performance. When asked if Judge Singer meets performance standards, the responses were as follows: of the 11 attorneys, 91% said “yes”, 9% said “no”; of the 64 non-attorneys, 91% said “yes”, 5% said “no”, and 5% had “no opinion”.
Judge Singer’s docket consists of primarily of criminal, juvenile, civil, probate matters, and domestic relations matters, with a small number of mental health, water, and misdemeanor cases. The Commission found that Judge Singer meets or exceeds performance standards in all categories (integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and public). When survey results were compared to all District Court Judges in Colorado, Judge Singer scored equal to or higher than the state average in nearly every category. It is evident that Judge Singer is well respected by those who appear in his courtroom, both attorneys and non-attorneys. Survey comments were overwhelmingly positive and described Judge Singer as a man of integrity who reflects upon the judiciary in a dignified way. He is described as hardworking, compassionate, and fair, and is known for his exceptional legal knowledge, writing skills, and for being prepared for hearings. Survey scores and comments did raise concerns about dockets consistently running behind. Commissioners’ observations confirmed that hearings in Judge Singer’s courtroom were often lengthy, although it was noted that there was less “down time” between cases than in other Judge’s courtrooms. Some of this is likely due to the inherent nature of the types of cases before the court, such as dependency and neglect matters, which often require in depth review. In his interview, the Judge discussed ways he has tried and will continue to try to reduce wait time while still giving cases the individualized attention they deserve. Judge Singer takes pride in encouraging, as Chief Judge, innovative solutions to meet the challenges facing the District, in order to ensure fair and prompt resolution of cases before the courts. The Commission unanimously agrees that Judge Singer meets judicial performance standards.