Kent J. Wagner
Judicial performance evaluations available in the “Blue Book” mailed to every Colorado registered voter household
Evaluations of 146 judges standing for retention in the 2014 general election are included in the 2014 State Ballot Information Booklet, published by the Legislative Council and commonly referred to as the “Blue Book,” which began arriving at Colorado households recently.
The Blue Book is an informational booklet that includes the evaluations of the judges standing for retention; it also provides voters with analysis and arguments for and against every statewide ballot measure. It is mailed to every Colorado household with a registered voter.
Evaluation results completed by local commissions on judicial performance are published as a narrative to provide voters information about the performance and background of each justice or judge appearing on the ballot. The narrative, recommendation, and a copy of performance survey results for each justice and judge is also published on the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation Website at www.coloradojudicialperformance.gov. On the Web site, voters also will find information about Colorado’s judicial performance evaluation program, processes and history.
The evaluations were completed by the State Commission on Judicial Performance for the four appellate Justices and judges; local commissions in each judicial district completed evaluations of trial court judges. Each commission consists of six non-attorney members and four attorney members. The non-partisan commissions are charged with providing voters with fair, responsible and constructive evaluations of individual judges seeking retention, and providing judges with useful information concerning their performance. The volunteer commissioners are appointed by Colorado’s Chief Justice, Governor, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House.
Commission members take this work seriously and strive to provide an honest, fair and reliable performance assessment of every justice and judge standing for retention. Citizens who review information provided by the commissions will find they are more informed about a judge’s performance as they cast their vote for each justice or judge by answering the question “Shall the Judge be retained?” “Vote yes or no.” Those votes will ultimately determine if the judge is retained in office for another term.
The judicial performance commissions evaluate justices and judges on criteria defined by Colorado Revised Statute 13-5.5-105.5, including integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, and administrative performance. To do this, commissions review information from several sources: written opinions and decisions, caseload statistics, interviews, courtroom observations, judges’ self-evaluations, and independent survey results. For 2014, Judicial Performance evaluations surveys were sent to more than 130,000 people having some involvement with the justices or judges, including prosecutors, public defenders, private attorneys, litigants, jurors, witnesses, law enforcement officers, court employees, court interpreters, and probation officers. Commissioners also reviewed the results of interim survey results from past years.
The commissions then produce a narrative for each judge with a recommendation of “retain,” “do not retain,” or “no opinion.” The narrative, recommendation and complete survey results were first published Aug. 5, on the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation Website http://www.coloradojudicialperformance.gov/review.cfm?year=2014. The Blue Book is also available at www.coloradobluebook.com.
Editor’s Note: Below are the media contacts for each judicial performance commission.
Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation
Contact: Kent J. Wagner, 303-928-7779
State Commission (Supreme Court and Court of Appeals)
Contact: Heather Hanneman, 303-573-1900
1st Judicial District (Gilpin, Jefferson Counties)
Contact: Gary Polidori, 303-936-3300
2nd Judicial District (Denver – County and District Court)
Contact: Dan Recht, 303-573-1900
3rd Judicial District (Huerfano, Las Animas Counties)
Contact: Dixie Newnam, 719-846-1800
4th Judicial District (El Paso, Teller Counties)
Contact: T.C. Dantzler, 719-266-3689
5th Judicial District (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, Summit Counties)
Contact: Thomas Marmins, 970-668-2102
6th Judicial District (Archuleta, La Plata, San Juan Counties)
Contact: Nick Palmer, 970-385-9000
7th Judicial District (Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel Counties)
Contact: Anna Cooling, 970-497-2204
8th Judicial District (Jackson, Larimer Counties)
Contact: Sean Rutledge, 970-669-2864
9th Judicial District (Garfield, Pitkin, Rio Blanco Counties)
Contact: Carol Craven, 970-963-3733
10th Judicial District (Pueblo County)
Contact: Henry Geisel, 719-543-7243
11th Judicial District (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Park Counties)
Contact: Chip Cutler, 719-539-5017
12th Judicial District (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache Counties)
Contact: Carla Gomez, 719-850-1072
13th Judicial District (Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Yuma Counties)
Contact: Jeremy Weathers, 970-630-5886
14th Judicial District (Grand, Moffat, Routt Counties)
Contact: Lynn Abbott, 970-870-6673
15th Judicial District (Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Prowers Counties)
Contact: Susan Crites, 719-688-6365
Jo Dorenkamp, 719-734-5034
16th Judicial District (Bent, Crowley, Otero Counties)
Contact: Samme Ormiston, 719-469-8922
17th Judicial District (Adams, Broomfield Counties)
Contact: Loren Brown, 303-451-0300
18th Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, Lincoln Counties)
Contact: Susan M. Thornton, 303-798-0844
19th Judicial District (Weld County)
Contact: Sandra Owens, 970-397-7728
20th Judicial District (Boulder County)
Contact: Patrick Haines, 720-318-6883
21st Judicial District (Mesa County)
Contact: Susan Redmond, 970-250-4984
22nd Judicial District (Dolores, Montezuma Counties)
Contact: Jim Shaner, 970-565-8699