Committee evaluates 9th Judicial District judges

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission has recommended all four judges in the 9th Judicial District be retained by voters in the upcoming elections.

Four of the district’s five judges will be listed on the Nov. 4 ballot for retention or rejection and must receive 57 percent of votes to maintain their seats on the bench.

The study, published online Thursday, evaluated 76 state justices and judges standing for retention through confidential surveys and personal interviews, according to the JPEC Web site.

Judges also had an opportunity to address the evaluation results and their comments were noted in the evaluation summaries.

Teddy Hartley, Robert Orlik, Stephen Quinn and David Reeb Jr. were evaluated from the Curry and Roosevelt County district.

Of those rated throughout the state, only two were given no opinion by the Commission — one in the 5th Judicial District and one in the 13th Judicial District.

No judges received “do not retain” marks.

The district’s newest judge, Drew Tatum, was not evaluated because he is not up for retention and will be listed on November’s ballot for election.

Court staff, attorneys and support staff, which includes law enforcement and probation officers, gave detailed ratings of judges on things like performance and courtroom demeanor.

Predominately, the judges ratings were positive with those surveyed acknowledging things like punctuality, respectfulness, courtesy and maintaining control of their courtrooms.

Here are the summaries:

Teddy L. Hartley: “Judge Hartley received positive ratings from the court staff and generally positive ratings from attorneys and resource staff (e.g. law enforcement and probation officers). For example, the attorneys rated the judge well for maintaining proper control over the proceedings, ruling on motions or cases in a timely manner, and for being punctual in commencing proceedings. In addition, the court staff rated Judge Hartley highly for his promptness in scheduling hearings and trials, and for respecting and cooperating with other judges. However, although his scores were generally positive among attorneys, they were somewhat lower when compared to his previous evaluation in 2005. For example, attorneys rated him lower when it comes to prejudging the outcome of cases. Judge Hartley expressed a determination to improve his overall judicial performance.”

Robert S. Orlik: “Judge Orlik gets mixed reviews from persons utilizing his courtroom. Generally, he received positive ratings for punctuality in commencing proceedings, attentiveness to proceedings, and maintaining proper control over his courtroom. However, lawyers, court staff and resource staff (e.g. law enforcement officers and social workers) rated the judge lower on displaying a basic sense of fairness, impartiality and justice. In addition, these groups rated him lower on courtesy and demeanor. Attorneys also rated Judge Orlik somewhat lower than other judges in the district with respect to his knowledge of the law. He disagreed with any suggestion that he is not knowledgeable in the law, but indicated a willingness to improve his communication skills to help alleviate the perception of weakness in this area and to address the perception that he is not always courteous and fair.”

Stephen K. Quinn: “Judge Quinn received positive scores from all populations surveyed during this evaluation process. For example, attorneys rated the judge highly for being courteous to all participants, treating self-represented litigants fairly, and for having a dignified demeanor. The court staff rated him very highly for respecting all court employees, and for respecting and cooperating with other judges. Although Judge Quinn received positive scores on almost every attribute, he was rated somewhat lower in the area of ruling on motions or cases in a timely manner. While Judge Quinn was disciplined in 2006 by the Supreme Court for excessively delaying decisions, judgments, and rulings, he has shown improvement in this area since his previous evaluation in 2005 and has indicated his intention to continue improvement.”

David P. Reeb, Jr.: “Judge Reeb received high ratings from both attorneys and non-attorneys in each category of the survey. For example, attorneys rated the judge very highly for being courteous to all participants, his attentiveness to the proceedings, and for maintaining proper control over the proceedings. The court staff gave him very high ratings for respecting all court employees and for his promptness in scheduling hearings and trials.”

More information related to the evaluations is online at: www.nmjpec.org.