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Taylor, Harold 1998 Evaluation


Eleventh Judicial District - Custer County Court Judge

Honorable Harold D. Taylor

Retention Year: 1998
Recommendation: Retain


The Eleventh Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Harold D. Taylor BE RETAINED.

Judge Taylor was appointed to the Custer County Court Bench in 1992. Judge Taylor is a part-time county court judge and currently presides over misdemeanor criminal matters, traffic cases, and civil cases where the amount in dispute does not exceed $10,000.00. Judge Taylor is retired from the profession of teaching mathematics. He is not an attorney.

Questionnaires for evaluation of Judge Taylor were sent numerous people, including attorneys who have appeared in his court, court and probation employees, litigants who have had cases in his court, law enforcement officers and jurors who have served on juries in his court. The responses to the questionnaires rated Judge Taylor highly overall. It should be noted that the data from those groups with only one response may be subject to instability because of the low response rate. Those persons who responded to the questionnaires made the following recommendations concerning retention of Judge Taylor: Attorneys (11 responses) Retain: 100%, Court employees (4 responses) Retain: 100%, Litigants (3 responses) Retain: 66.7% - Do Not Retain: 33.3%, Law Enforcement Personnel (11 responses) Retain: 100%, Crime Victims (1 response) Retain: 100% and Jurors (7 responses) Retain: 100%.

The Commission bases its findings on information supplied to the Commission through the questionnaires, public hearings, and a personal interview with Judge Taylor. Judge Taylor is dedicated to his judgeship, and continues to further his education to better perform in the courtroom. He also teaches non-lawyer judges at the judicial college. A non-lawyer may have some disadvantages as a judge, but Judge Taylor has demonstrated a firm commitment to the job and is willing to spend an enormous amount of time, much of it without additional compensation, to see that he performs his judicial duties well. The Commission finds that Judge Taylor has strong community support. He is patient with litigants and is willing to spend time with individuals to ensure that they are treated fairly and consistently.

Some members of the Commission were concerned with Judge Taylor's demeanor toward the evaluation process and felt that he demonstrated a slight degree of arrogance. However, the Commission did not find any indication that this perceived arrogance was present in his courtroom demeanor. The Commission is confident that Judge Taylor will continue in his efforts toward outstanding service to the Custer County Court.