First Judicial District - Jefferson County Judge
Honorable Ryan James Stuart
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The First Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously (10-0) agrees that County Court Judge Ryan James Stuart MEET PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Judge Stuart was appointed to the Jefferson County Court in August 2012. Prior to appointment Judge Stuart served as a District Court Magistrate in the First Judicial District. Before this, Judge Stuart was a deputy district attorney in Jefferson County. Judge Stuart received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University, a Masters degree in Education from Harvard University, and his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Judge Stuart believes in the importance of community service to the judiciary and has demonstrated such by serving on the First Judicial District Bar Association’s Board of Trustees, judging high school mock trial competitions, and most recently co-found a charter middle/high school, where he serves as President of the Board of Directors.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Stuart, reviewed written opinions he authored, observed him in court, reviewed comments from interested parties during the evaluation, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had experience with Judge Stuart during the evaluation period. A total of 33 attorneys and 74 non-attorneys (staff, jurors and others) responded to the judicial performance surveys expressing their opinion of Judge Stuart. Of the attorneys who responded, 91% believed Judge Stuart meets performance standards, 6% believed he does not meet performance standards and 3% had no opinion. Of the non-attorneys surveyed, 90% believe Judge Stuart meets performance standards, 6% believe he does not meet performance standards and 4% had no opinion.
Judge Stuart presides over a mixed docket which primarily includes traffic, misdemeanor and criminal cases. Throughout the survey, the most common among the comments received were those describing Judge Stuart as fair and impartial, very knowledgeable of the law, and clear and concise oral and written rulings. Additionally, he maintains an even demeanor, treats all parties in the courtroom respectfully and maintains a professional decorum. During his interview with the Commission, Judge Stuart expressed the difficulty faced by the bench of an increasing caseload as well as a higher number of cases set for trial with limited resources. Always seeking ways to improve efficiency, he implemented a number of trial management strategies in his division which has resulted in better use of court time, ensuring parties are ready to proceed in a timely manner, and reducing overall number of cases set for trial. Judge Stuart feels his role as a County Court Judge is highly fulfilling. He shared his goal is to become more valuable in his judicial role and to have a positive impact on the community. Based on these findings the Commission unanimously agreed that Judge Stuart meets judicial performance standards.