District: Circuit Judge
Seems to enjoy family law.
Very professional and courteous.
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.
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.
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.
Just not very smart.
By JASON GEARY
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.