October 24, 2017

State Judicial Performance Commission Seeks Public Input

On Thursday, October 27, 2016, the State Commission on Judicial Performance issued a request for public input on the state’s Judicial Performance Evaluation. The Commission is conducting a sunset review, as it is due to sunset in 2019. The Commission will hold several meetings throughout Colorado on the following dates and times:

  • Denver (November 14 – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center Room 1E)
  • Alamosa (November 15 – Noon to 2 PM Rio Grande Water Conservation District Office)
  • Pueblo (November 16 – Noon to 2 PM Jury Assembly Room Pueblo Combined Court)
  • Colorado Springs (November 16 – 4:00 PM Jury Assembly Room El Paso County Judicial Building)
  • Grand Junction (November 17 – Noon to 2 PM Jury Assembly Room Mesa County Justice Center)
  • Breckenridge (November 18 –Noon – 2 PM Jury Assembly Room Summit County Justice Center)
  • Durango (November 18 – Noon to 2 PM Jury Assembly Room La Plata County Courthouse)
  • Lamar (November 21 – Noon to 2 PM Large Courtroom Prowers County Combined Court)
  • Greeley (November 22 – Noon to 2 PM Jury Assembly Room Weld County Centennial Center)
  • Fort Collins (November 22- 4:00 PM Jury Assembly Room Larimer County Justice Center)
  • Denver (December 5 – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center Room 1E)

During these meetings, the Commission requests that the public offer input on the following questions:

  1. Do you rely on Judicial Performance Evaluations when you vote for judges?  Why or why not?
  2. Are we collecting the right information about judges?
  3. Are we evaluating and reporting the evaluations properly?
  4. Does the quality and usefulness of the evaluation information meet your expectations?
  5. What other attributes of judges should we be gathering feedback on?
  6. What suggestions do you have to improve the system?

The Commission is not seeking input about particular judges or a particular judge’s particular decisions at this meeting.  The focus will be on the evaluation process itself.

If you cannot attend one of these meetings, you may submit comments regarding the program at www.ojpe.org. Click on the “Citizens Feedback” button at the top of the page to begin the process.  For further information contact the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation, (303) 928-7777 or email Kent Wagner, Executive Director, at kent.wagner@judicial.state.co.us.

Rule Change 2016(02) Amends Rules Governing Commissions on Judicial Performance

The Colorado Supreme Court issued Rule Change 2016(02), which amends the Rules Governing the Commissions on Judicial Performance, effective March 17, 2016. All but three of the 16 rules were amended; some of the changes were relatively minor and some were more involved. Rule 12, “Recommendations,” was amended drastically to delete some of the specific criteria regarding retention recommendations. Rule 14, “Confidentiality,” also had several changes, including the deletion of certain criteria for the release of confidential information. Some of the changes, however, only affected the order of the wording.

A redline of the changes is available here. For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.

 

Judicial Performance Commission Appointments Announced

On Friday, October 9, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper announced appointments to several Commissions on Judicial Performance. These appointments are effective December 1, 2015, for terms expiring November 30, 2019. The Commissions on Judicial Performance were created by the General Assembly in 1988 in order to provide voters with fair, responsible, and constructive evaluations of judges seeking retention. Each of Colorado’s judicial districts has a Commission and there is one for the state appellate judges. Commissions consist of ten volunteer commissioners — four attorneys and six non-attorneys. Governor Hickenlooper’s appointments are as follows:

  • State Commission on Judicial Performance – Suzanne Jalbert of Fraser was appointed to serve as a non-attorney.
  • Third Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Nancy Lake of Weston was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Eleventh Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Jenna Mazzucca of Salida was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Thirteenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Amy Schmidt of Laird was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Fifteenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Joshua Vogel of Lamar was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Heidi Miller of Commerce City was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Valerie Garcia of Centennial was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Nineteenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Martin Beier of Frederick was appointed to serve as an attorney.

For more information about the commissions on judicial performance, click here. For more information about the appointments, click here.

Judge Evaluations Available Online for 146 Judges Standing for Retention

The Colorado State Judicial Branch announced last week that judicial evaluations are now available online for Colorado’s 146 judges standing for retention in 2014. These evaluations were carefully prepared by Colorado’s Commission on Judicial Performance and local judicial performance commissions, and will be mailed to all voters this fall in the “Blue Book.”

The Commissions on Judicial Performance were created by Colorado’s legislature in 1988 in order to provide fair, responsible, and constructive evaluations of Colorado’s trial court and appellate judges and justices. Local judicial performance commissions consist of four attorneys and six non-attorneys. Volunteer commissioners are appointed by the Colorado Chief Justice, Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House for four-year terms. Commission workers take their work seriously and strive to create honest, fair, and reliable assessments of all judges standing for retention. Trial judges’ evaluations are developed with surveys of random samplings of people who appear in their courtrooms, including attorneys, jurors, litigants, court employees, and law enforcement personnel. Judges also complete self-evaluations that are used in the evaluation process. Appellate judge evaluations are developed by surveys of attorneys, court employees, other appellate judges, and other lower court judges, as well as self-evaluations, courtroom statistics, and personal observations by commission members.

To see the recommendations of the Commission on Judicial Performance regarding all 146 judges standing for retention, click here.

HB 14-1069: Specifying Additional People to be Interviewed by Commissions on Judicial Performance

On January 8, 2014, Rep. Paul Rosenthal introduced HB 14-1069 – Concerning District Commissions on Judicial Performance. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Current law directs district commissions on judicial performance (commissions), as part of their evaluations of district and county judges, to interview other district and county judges and other interested persons. The bill adds to this list the district attorney, a representative of the state public defender, and a representative of the local bar association.

The commission must issue invitations to the new interviewees not less than 35 days before the interview. A majority of the commission must be present at the interview. The commission may substitute a written submission in place of an interview only with the consent of the invited person. The CBA LPC voted to support this legislation. On Tuesday, Jan. 28, the Judiciary Committee amended and moved the bill to the full House for consideration on 2nd Reading.

Since this summary, the bill passed 2nd Reading with amendments, and it passed 3rd Reading in the House as well.

New Members Needed for Colorado Commission on Judicial Performance

The Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation seeks individuals to fill vacancies for judicial performance evaluations in all 22 of Colorado’s judicial districts, as well as for the statewide commission that evaluates Colorado Supreme Court justices and Colorado Court of Appeals judges.

Commissions on Judicial Performance are non-partisan groups consisting of attorney and non-attorney volunteers who evaluate the performance of judicial officers based on established criteria. According to statute, those criteria include integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and the public. The findings of the Commissions are provided to Colorado voters, who decide whether to retain judges during the general election.

More information about the Commissions on Judicial Performance may be found here. Questions can be directed to Kent Wagner, Executive Director of the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation, at (303) 928-7779. For a list of vacancies, click here.