Judges Survey 

J. Dale Durrance

J. Dale Durrance
J. Dale Durrance

District: Circuit Judge

2010 Overall Legal Ability Communication Ability Written Decisions Professional Conduct
6.57 6.23 6.84 6.22 6.99

Comments
Seems to enjoy family law.

Very professional and courteous.

Great.

Hide-bound, which he'd consider a virtue rather than the vice that it is.

Racist, lazy, dumb.

Very cordial. Very pleasant to practice in front of. But very tough when sentencing.

The best - despite what criminal defense attorneys say.

Judge Durrence does more to protect the people of Polk County from violent criminals than anybody. His personal deportment is impeccable.

One of the best. He is strict but I have seen amazing instances of compassion, both of which are necessary.

Erratic. Needs to retire.

Biased; not fair.

Very polite and great in Famil Law court.

Great judge.

Thoughtful and fair.

He just got $800,000 on DROP; now he is going to put in his retirement papers, then work six more years and draw two retirements.

Very classy, professional and knowledgeable.

His strength is in protecting the citizens of Polk County.

Nice guys finish last.

Unfairly criticized mostly by public defenders who don't like his sentencing tendies.

Best conservative judge on bench.

Great courtroom demeanor; respectful.

Very considerate and calm but too rigid and sometimes very harsh.

As bad as always.

Contrary to his reputation, he's always been fair, reasonable, and professional.

Underrated - This man is a pro.

Rarely inconveniences himself with considering both sides of an issue.

Polite and authoritative, even when wrong. Afraid of nothing.

Time to realize that reversals actually mean you're doing something wrong. A "double-dipper" whose retirement is long over due. Very genteel and courteous as he totally misapplies the law.

Improving.

Knows where he's going.

Excessively harsh sentencing. Removing this one judge would be a step toward improvement in the 10th Circuit's judicial system.

Pleasant.

Just not very smart.


Article
By JASON GEARY
THE LEDGER

J. Dale Durrance rose slightly from the bottom of The Ledger's biennial survey of local lawyers.

He ranked next to last among 28 circuit judges with an overall rating of 6.57 out of 10.

In 2008, Durrance placed last among 25 circuit judges with an overall rating of 6.20.

He did show improvement in every category this year when compared to the results of the previous bar survey.

His strongest individual category was professional conduct, where he earned 6.99. His lowest was 6.22 for written decisions.

Some lawyers commented Durrance appears to enjoy his current assignment handling cases related to family law.

But lawyers continued to debate Durrance's past reputation for dishing out tough sentences when overseeing criminal cases.

"Excessively harsh sentencing," one wrote. "Removing this one judge would be a step toward improvement in the 10th Circuit's judicial system."

"Judge Durrance does more to protect the people of Polk County from violent criminals than anybody," another suggested. "His personal deportment is impeccable."

The judge's demeanor - even among his critics - was often described in a positive light.

Lawyers used words like cordial, classy, pleasant and polite to describe Durrance.

"Very genteel and courteous as he totally misapplies the law," one person wrote.

Durrance, 63, did not wish to comment on the survey.

He earned his law degree from Florida State University in 1975. His legal career includes serving as an assistant state attorney in Hillsborough and Polk counties.

He was elected to the Polk County bench in 1980 and then elected to the circuit bench in 1984.
District: Circuit Judge

2008 Overall Legal Ability Communication Ability Written Decisions Professional Conduct
6.20 5.95 6.47 5.81 6.57

Comments
J. Dale Durrance

A solid judge, way underrated.

Always a gentleman to all parties.

Bad temperament;

Concerned about protecting the safety of the community.

Courteous to all, extremely fair, very knowledgeable; Judge Durrance appropriately sentences violent criminals.

Fair to all.

Forget the law, we have Judge Durrrance.

Frequently unjustly criticized by the news media.

Harsh, harsh, harsh.

His inability to adjust sentencing according to the circumstances contradicts his title of "judge."

His is the most patient judge I've ever seen and very caring.

Horrible sentencer.

Knows and applies the law.

Needs to be off the criminal bench.

Never see Dale away from the courtroom.

Obviously state oriented, but exceptionally polite to all attorneys and litigants; not as bad as some say.

Prosecutor in a robe; when will he be moved off the criminal bench?

Rules totally for or against someone--no compromise; never heard a state argument he didn't agree with.

State's greatest ally.
Still Dale.


Article
BY JASON GEARY

THE LEDGER

Circuit Judge J. Dale Durrance remained at the bottom of The Ledger's biennial survey of local lawyers.

Durrance placed last out of 25 circuit judges in the 10th Judicial Circuit.

Durrance showed slight improvements in each individual category when compared with the results of the 2006 survey. He was also last back then but with a lower overall rating of 6.11 out of 10.

This year, Durrance's overall rating was 6.20. His highest category was a 6.57 for professional conduct. His lowest was 5.81 for written decisions.

Many of those who commented accused Durrance of doling out harsh sentences.

"State's greatest ally," one wrote. "Does not judge individuals for the crimes charged, he just gives them the maximum time. State knows this and uses him as a puppet."

One lawyer described Durrance as "a barely controlled curmudgeon" and another called him a "prosecutor in a robe."

Others described Durrance as having a pleasant, polite demeanor.

"Always a gentleman to all parties," a lawyer wrote.

One wrote that Durrance is "frequently unjustly criticized by the news media."

"Courteous to all, extremely fair, very knowledgeable," another said. "Judge Durrance appropriately sentences violent criminals. He aims to protect the citizens of Polk County from further dangerous acts."

Durrance, 61, did not wish to comment on the survey.

He received his law degree from Florida State University in 1975. He was elected a Polk County judge in 1980 and elected to the circuit bench in 1984. His current term expires this year.


 
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