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Trujillo, Michael 2006 Evaluation


Twelfth Judicial District - Rio Grande County Court Judge

Honorable Michael H. Trujillo 

Retention Year: 2006
Recommendation: Retain


2006 Retention Survey Report (PDF)


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The Twelfth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Michael H. Trujillo BE RETAINED.

Judge Trujillo is a graduate of Adams State College and the University of Colorado School of Law. Judge Trujillo was appointed to the Rio Grande County bench in 1991. He serves as the Saguache County Judge from 1975 – 1991. As a County Judge, Judge Trujillo hears criminal cases, civil cases under $15,000, misdemeanors, traffic infractions, small claims, and restraining orders. The Rio Grande County Judgeship is a part-time position. Judge Trujillo has also been in private practice for 32 years, concentrating primarily in the areas of domestic relations, probate, and real estate law.

The Commission received a written self-evaluation, held four public hearings, and conducted both courtroom observations and an interview of Judge Trujillo. The Commission also reviewed the results of a professional survey of litigants, attorneys, and other professionals who have appeared before Judge Trujillo. The results include written comments, an over-all statistical score, as well as statistical scores in five areas: case management, application and knowledge of law, communications, demeanor, and diligence. The results also contain the state-wide average scores for county court and trial court judges.

Judge Trujillo is the most experienced County Judge in the Twelfth Judicial District after 31 years. He is noted for his calm, even-tempered, and patient demeanor on the bench. Both litigants and attorneys respect his willingness to attentively listen to those in his courtroom and to treat them with courtesy and respect. Judge Trujillo takes great pleasure in talking with school groups and in the schools. Judge Trujillo is committed to improving the lives of migrant farm workers in the San Luis Valley. As President of the San Luis Valley Farm Workers Corporation, a non-profit corporation, for 12 years, Judge Trujillo has been instrumental in building migrant housing facilities in Center and Alamosa. In addition to provide safe, clean, and affordable house, the facilities provide medical care, English education, Headstart, and daycare services for migrant workers and their families.

Judge Trujillo received the grade equivalent of “B” from non-attorneys responding to the survey over-all and in each of the five categories. Non-attorneys scored Judge Trujillo highest for his communication skills and demeanor. For example, conducting his courtroom in a neutral manner and treating parties with politeness and respect. Judge Trujillo was also rated by non-attorneys for giving participants an opportunity to be heard, maintaining appropriate control over the proceedings, and being prepared for court. 83% of the non-attorneys responding to the survey recommended that Judge Trujillo should be retained.

Judge Trujillo also received the grade equivalent of “B” from attorneys responding to the survey both over-all and in each of the five survey categories. Attorneys noted that Judge Trujillo treats everyone politely and with respect, and gives everyone an opportunity to be heard. Judge Trujillo received his other high scores for setting reasonable case schedules, being able to identify and analyze relevant facts, and promptly issuing decisions after trial. 89% of the attorneys responding to the survey stated that Judge Trujillo should be retained.