Final Recommendation

The Honorable

John M. Paternoster

District Court Judge
8th Judicial District --
Colfax, Taos, and Union Counties

Year: 2014

Recommendation: Retain

Election Results: Retained

Evaluation: Overall, Judge John Paternoster's ratings were mixed. Attorneys rated him positively for conducting himself in a manner free from impropriety, for knowledge of the law, for being attentive to the proceedings, and for maintaining proper control over court proceedings. In addition, the resource staff (e.g., law enforcement, probation and parole officers, interpreters, etc.) rated him positively for maintaining proper control over the proceedings, being attentive to the proceedings, and for behaving in a manner that encourages respect for the courts. However, both groups rated him lower for being prompt in scheduling hearings and trials and for ruling on motions in a timely manner. Judge Paternoster received negative scores from court staff in several areas, most notably in respecting court employees regardless of position. In interviews before the Commission, Judge Paternoster acknowledged the need for improvement in these areas and has taken the initiative to make changes to improve his performance.

Experience & Education: Judge Paternoster was appointed District Judge in April 2006 and elected the following November. He presides over civil and criminal cases. Prior to his appointment, he worked as assistant attorney general, deputy district attorney, the District Attorney for the Eighth Judicial District, municipal judge and in private practice. Judge Paternoster received his undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico and his law degree from Gonzaga School of Law in 1976.

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

Attorneys (n=78, 59% Response Rate)
Category Agree Partly Agree/ Partly Disagree Disagree
Exhibits Integrity 87% 10% 3%
Fair and Impartial 80% 13% 7%
Knowledgeable of Law 81% 13% 6%
Communication is Clear 79% 13% 8%
Appropriate Demeanor 81% 11% 8%
Properly Controls Proceedings 87% 11% 3%
Respects Court Employees N/A N/A N/A
Court Staff (n=16, 64% Response Rate)
Category Agree Partly Agree/ Partly Disagree Disagree
Exhibits Integrity 38% 31% 31%
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 31% 6% 63%
Category Agree Partly Agree/ Partly Disagree Disagree
Exhibits Integrity 77% 9% 14%
Fair and Impartial 68% 20% 12%
Knowledgeable of Law N/A N/A N/A
Communication is Clear 71% 15% 15%
Appropriate Demeanor 76% 18% 6%
Properly Controls Proceedings 85% 12% 3%
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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