Final Recommendation

The Honorable

Sheri A. Raphaelson

District Court Judge
1st Judicial District --
Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, and Santa Fe Counties

Year: 2014

Recommendation: Do Not Retain

Election Results: Not Retained

Evaluation: Overall, Judge Sheri Raphaelson's scores among attorneys and court staff are lower than the other judges being evaluated in the First Judicial District. Attorneys give her low ratings when it comes to treating all participants equally and for displaying fairness and impartiality toward each side of the case. They also rate her lower for not always exercising sound legal reasoning and for not being thoroughly knowledgeable of the law. In addition, attorneys rate her poorly for not always conducting herself in a manner free from arrogance. A review of Judge Raphaelson's caseload and productivity statistics (clearance rates) from May 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013 shows that she is the least efficient district judge in managing her docket. During this same time period, attorneys or other parties excused Judge Raphaelson at a significantly higher rate than any other judge in the district (573 times), requesting their cases be reassigned to a different judge. During her interim evaluation in 2011, the Commission discussed with Judge Raphaelson areas that needed improvement. Her scores did improve among the resource staff (e.g., law enforcement, probation and parole officers, interpreters, etc.). However, her scores among attorneys decreased or remained unchanged in every category. During this final retention evaluation, Judge Raphaelson did not take responsibility for her survey scores and the negative comments by survey participants. The Commission feels her attitude and demeanor are reflective of her judicial temperament and are an accurate reflection of the survey results.

Experience & Education: Judge Raphaelson was appointed to the district judgeship in 2009 and elected in 2010. Prior to her appointment, she was in private practice and worked in the public defender’s department. Judge Raphaelson’s community involvement includes the New Mexico Midwives Association and the NM Medical Reserve Corps Serves (medical volunteers). She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and her law degree from New England School of Law in 1989.

PERCENTAGE THAT AGREE OR DISAGREE THAT THE JUDGE EXHIBITS POSITIVE QUALITIES IN EACH CATEGORY *

Attorneys (n=124, 49% Response Rate)
Category Agree Partly Agree/ Partly Disagree Disagree
Exhibits Integrity 47% 23% 29%
Fair and Impartial 45% 17% 38%
Knowledgeable of Law 51% 18% 31%
Communication is Clear 46% 24% 30%
Appropriate Demeanor 46% 15% 39%
Properly Controls Proceedings 67% 18% 15%
Respects Court Employees N/A N/A N/A
Court Staff (n=54, 65% Response Rate)
Category Agree Partly Agree/ Partly Disagree Disagree
Exhibits Integrity 35% 22% 43%
Fair and Impartial N/A N/A N/A
Knowledgeable of Law N/A N/A N/A
Communication is Clear N/A N/A N/A
Appropriate Demeanor N/A N/A N/A
Properly Controls Proceedings N/A N/A N/A
Respects Court Employees 36% 27% 36%
Jurors (n=25, 30% Response Rate)
Category Agree Partly Agree/ Partly Disagree Disagree
Exhibits Integrity 92% 4% 4%
Fair and Impartial 91% 5% 4%
Knowledgeable of Law N/A N/A N/A
Communication is Clear 93% 0% 7%
Appropriate Demeanor 92% 4% 4%
Properly Controls Proceedings 92% 4% 4%
Respects Court Employees N/A N/A N/A
Category Agree Partly Agree/ Partly Disagree Disagree
Exhibits Integrity 89% 5% 5%
Fair and Impartial 82% 7% 11%
Knowledgeable of Law N/A N/A N/A
Communication is Clear 79% 16% 5%
Appropriate Demeanor 79% 16% 5%
Properly Controls Proceedings 89% 11% 0%
Respects Court Employees N/A N/A N/A

* On the tables above, the "Agree" columns are comprised of the strongly agree and agree responses. Similarly, the "Disagree" columns are comprised of the strongly disagree and disagree responses. The combined percentage of "Agree", "Disagree", and "Partly Agree/Partly Disagree" for each category may not equal 100% due to rounding error. "N/A" indicates that the category is "not applicable" because some populations were not asked certain questions.

 

PERCENTAGE THAT RECOMMEND THE JUDGE BE RETAINED OR NOT BE RETAINED IN OFFICE. ‡

‡ On the charts above, the "Retain" columns are comprised of the strongly recommend retain and somewhat recommend retain responses. Similarly, the "Do Not Retain" columns are comprised of the strongly recommend not retain and somewhat recommend not retain responses.

 

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