Election Guide 2012: Voters will decide whether to retain Judge Michael O’Hara III | SteamboatToday.com

Election Guide 2012: Voters will decide whether to retain Judge Michael O’Hara III

Michael O'Hara III

Voters on Nov. 6 will decide whether to retain Judge Michael O'Hara III as the chief judge for the 14th Judicial District, which encompasses Routt, Moffat and Grand counties.

O'Hara has been a judge since August 2003, when he was appointed by Gov. Bill Owens.

The Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation unanimously recommended that O'Hara be retained as the chief judge.

In formulating its opinion, the commission reviewed a self-evaluation completed by O'Hara; reviewed written opinions and orders; conducted a personal interview; and observed his courtroom. The commission also considered written evaluations submitted by attorneys, court staff, litigants, jurors, witnesses, law enforcement personnel and various others.

According to the commission, 80 percent of attorneys surveyed recommended O'Hara be retained, 15 percent recommended he not be retained and the remainder did not make a recommendation. Of all the non-attorneys surveyed, 88 percent recommended that he be retained, 6 percent did not want O'Hara retained and 5 percent did not have a recommendation.

The commission's survey gave O'Hara high marks in the areas of demeanor, fairness, communications, diligence and application of law. The commission also stated O'Hara issues wise, well-reasoned decisions, and he explains his verbal and written rulings clearly and thoroughly.

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"He effectively manages court staff in three counties," the commission concluded.

The commission also noted that it discussed with O'Hara limited concerns from the survey regarding timeliness of written orders. The commission said it is satisfied with the steps that O'Hara has taken to address those concerns.

O'Hara was born and raised in Southern California. He and his family moved to Steamboat in 1991, and he worked at a small private practice for 11 years before being appointed a district judge.

Some information in this article was provided by the 2012 State Ballot Information Booklet.

Other judge retentions

Routt County voters also will weigh in on the retention of a Colorado Supreme Court justice and six Colorado Court of Appeals judges. Following are the State Commission on Judicial Performance recommendations for each judge.


Nathan B. Coats: Unanimous vote recommending retention


Judge Laurie A. Booras: Unanimous vote recommending retention

Judge James S. Casebolt: Unanimous vote recommending retention

Judge Dennis A. Graham: Unanimous vote recommending retention

Judge Gale T. Miller: Unanimous vote recommending retention

Judge Marc Taubman: Unanimous vote recommending retention

Judge John R. Webb: Unanimous vote recommending retention

For complete survey results on each judge, visit http://www.coloradojudicialperformance.gov.

Ballot language

Shall Judge Michael O’Hara of the 14th Judicial District be retained in office?

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