A new poll finds Wyoming lawyers largely favor retaining both Circuit Judge Bruce Waters and District Judge Steven Cranfill.

When asked to suppose or oppose retention, 85.3 percent approved of Waters, while 77.6 percent approved of Cranfill.

The Wyoming State Bar Judicial Advisory Poll was sent to 1,681 lawyers who practice in the state; 676 responded to the survey.

This spring the Wyoming State Bar commissioned the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center at the University of Wyoming to conduct the poll.

Both judges declined to comment on the survey.

Cody lawyer Tom Keegan favors retaining both judges.

“They are experienced judges who know what they’re doing,” he said. “These guys are hard working people.”

Waters received survey responses from 34 lawyers. Five of those, nearly 15 percent, oppose his retention. The statewide average in opposition of circuit court judges is about 20 percent.

Cranfill received 98 responses, with 22 lawyers opposing his retention, or about 22 percent. The statewide average for opposing district court judges is about 14 percent.

The WYSAC released the peer comparison data but cautioned the numbers are relative because the judges are rated by different lawyers.

Judges are rated in 11 categories including knowledge of law.

Waters’ highest rating was for integrity and ethics, with about 85 percent either somewhat or strongly approving of him.

Cranfill’s highest rating was for politeness. About 88 percent approved of him somewhat or strongly.

Waters’s lowest rating was for impartiality, with nearly 72 percent approval.

Cranfill’s lowest rating was a 66 percent approval for the reasoning and expression of his decisions.

Waters’ ratings were higher than the average for circuit judges in all 11 categories, except politeness.

Cranfill ranked higher than most for politeness, participation in professional activities and promptness in judicial duties.

Waters was appointed in 2001 and earns a salary of $119,000. He was retained in 2002, ’06 and ’10.

Cranfill was appointed in 2006 and earns $150,000 per year. He was retained in 2008.

The Wyoming State Bar has conducted judicial evaluation polls since 1976. Their intent is to provide performance feedback to each judge and educate the public.

(Greg Ellison can be reached at greg@codyenterprise.com.)

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