The failure of the “judicial performance evaluation” commissions illustrated by Larimer County Judges Blair & Gilmore

Colorado voters are being bombarded with a series of ads (on radio, television, and online) promoting the “evaluations” of incumbent judges and justices conducted by the various “Commissions on Judicial Performance Evaluation” at both district and state levels.  This so-called “education campaign” funded by legal establishment special-interest groups is spending tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars to convince Coloradans that “all is well” with the judicial system in Colorado.

Over the decades-long history of the “performance review” commissions, they have NOT ONCE recommended a “do not retain” vote for a Colorado Supreme Court justice (historically, that’s a 100% endorsement of the incumbent); the commissions have NOT ONCE recommended a “do not retain” vote for any Colorado Court of Appeals judge (again, a 100% endorsement); and the commissions have only very rarely (16 times, counting this year) recommended a “do not retain” vote for ANY judge at ANY level (an astounding 99% endorsement rate).  According to these “evaluations” there is no need to remove ANY of the incumbent judges or justices appearing on the ballot this year.  “Move along – nothing to see here.”


Even Fidel Castro or the late Saddam Hussein didn’t receive that level of “retain” votes…

Clear The Bench Colorado has previously noted deficiencies in the “evaluations” generated by the “judicial performance review” process; the State Commission on Judicial Performance (the commission “reviewing performance” of Colorado Supreme Court justices and Colorado Court of Appeals judges) this year continued their decades-long pattern of 100% “retain” recommendations by endorsing incumbent Colorado Supreme Court justices Bender, Martinez, and Rice despite their consistent pattern of disregarding clear constitutional language in a succession of rulings, and many of the other commissions have similarly failed in their duty to provide substantive, useful information on which Colorado voters can base an informed decision.

A recent Law Week article highlighted the failure of the 8th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance to hold two Larimer County judges – guilty of conspiring to hide evidence which sent an innocent man to jail for 10 years – accountable for their past performance:

On Aug. 3, Blair and Gilmore were unanimously recommended for retention by the Larimer County Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission. The commission acknowledged the concerns over the Masters case, including the public censure both judges received from the state Supreme Court’s presiding disciplinary judge for failing to ensure Masters’ defense counsel received potentially helpful evidence, but stated that “the community is well served” by the judges continued presence on the bench.

“Well-served” by the continued presence on the bench of judges who have demonstrated a lack of integrity and ethical behavior which resulted in sending an innocent man to jail for 10 YEARS?

Defense attorney Erik Fischer (who had defended Tim Masters) commented:

I think we would be better served by having them continue to serve in a different capacity than as judges.”

Perhaps having them “serve” in the “different capacity” of making license plates might be more appropriate…

According to the language of the so-called “evaluations” included in the commission reports,

The Commission was charged with evaluating Judge Blair [and Judge Gilmore] on integrity [emphasis added], legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance and service to the legal profession and the public.

Read for yourself the commission’s “performance evaluation” of Judge Blair along with the commission’s “performance evaluation” of Judge Gilmore – then decide for yourself if the commission recommendation to “retain” these judges in office passes the “smell” test.

Colorado voters have been ill-served by the lack of critical review and evaluation of judicial performance for decades.  The Colorado Commissions on Judicial Performance Evaluation, in failing to provide substantive information that differentiates between judges who rule consistently in accordance with the law (and Colorado DOES have many GOOD judges) and those who don’t – or who demonstrate other serious deficiencies in character or performance – are contributing to increased citizen skepticism about our judges, our courts, and the rule of law generally.  Undermining citizen confidence in the rule of law is corrosive to a society – if we are not reasonably assured that ALL citizens will receive fair, equal, and impartial treatment by our courts – applying the law, as written (not making it up as they go along, to suit the judge’s personal preference or political agenda) people will pursue justice by other means.

Clear The Bench Colorado calls upon attorneys of integrity (we know you’re out there somewhere), journalists with a sense of justice, and other people of principle to Sound Off! in true defense of our system of justice – by holding accountable those judges and justices who have failed in their duty to support the Constitution and uphold the rule of law.

Become an informed voter; conduct your own evaluation of the performance of these justices, based on how (and whether) they follow the Constitution and uphold the rule of law.  Armed with information, Yes, you can exercise your right to vote “NO” on the four (er, now three) ‘unjust justices’ of the Mullarkey Majority (Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice, and soon to be minus Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey) who need YOUR approval to continue taking away your constitutional rights: your right to vote on tax increases, your right to defend your homes and business from seizure by abuse of eminent domain, and your right to enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, instead of rule by activist, agenda-driven “justices.”  Support Clear The Bench Colorado with your comments (Sound Off!) and your contributions – and vote “NO” on retaining these unjust justices in the November elections!

9 Responses to The failure of the “judicial performance evaluation” commissions illustrated by Larimer County Judges Blair & Gilmore

  • ” According to these “evaluations” there is no need to remove ANY of the incumbent judges or justices appearing on the ballot this year.”

    I hate to burst your bubble, Matt, but the Judicial Performance Commission DID recommend against retention on one judge, Jill Mattoon of Pueblo, and had “No comment” on Denver County Judge Mary Celeste of Denver. What you get to see in the blue book depends on where you live – Celeste is in my blue book (Denver area) but Mattoon is not, because I don’t get to vote for her (and I’d bet you don’t either). The only place you’ll see ALL of the recommendations is online…

  • CTBC Director says:

    Marianne –

    my comment was in reference to the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court (appearing on the statewide ballot) which is the focus of Clear The Bench Colorado.

    Of course I’m aware of the commission’s “do not retain” recommendation on Judge Mattoon (and the politics surrounding that recommendation by the local commission); the “no recommendation” on Judge Celeste is interesting, but is consistent with my point about the failure of the judicial performance evaluation commissions to provide substantive information to the voters on which to base an informed decision.

    Clear The Bench Colorado also provides a link to the judicial “performance review” reports containing the “evaluation” for judges and justices at all levels.

    It’s pretty clear that these “evaluations” fall far short of the depth and breadth of information provided by Clear The Bench Colorado
    the ONLY source for comprehensive, fact-based performance evaluations of incumbent judicial officeholders at the statewide level…

  • lisa says:

    Great job, Matt! The People should know that their justice system is as politically corrupt as the Congress.

  • Charles Moll says:

    I received your bumper sticker, which I’m displaying, and sent you a donation. I’ve seen no further push on this effort. You don’t really think that the bumper stickers (i’ve seen no other but my own” and your website info. is going to get to the public, do you? This is the election we may actually be able to get rid of these activist judges, we need publicity

  • CTBC Director says:

    Charles –
    thanks for your support – but if you’re not seeing any further push on this effort, you’re missing out…

    Clear The Bench Colorado has been in the news both statewide and nationally, on air (radio and television), and signs are sprouting up all over the state with the “Vote NO on unjust justices” message. Stay tuned for upcoming appearances on Channel 9 (“Your Show” with Adam Schrager), Channel 12 (“Devil’s Advocate”) and others.

    Unfortunately – thanks to the relentless attacks by the left-wing litigation machine “Colorado Ethics Watch” (CEW, pronounced “sue” – it’s what they do), who owe us over $21,000 in legal fees – our resources are constrained. The big-money legal establishment special-interest groups are spending tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) to prop up incumbent justices, too (their buddies on the bench). Contributions from individual donors like yourself are all that we have…

    As a grassroots movement, NOT supported by big money, we need the help of people like to to get out and spread the word.

    In addition to the bumper sticker (which DOES help raise awareness) please tell a half-dozen people EACH DAY for the next several weeks about this important issue – our once-in-a-decade chance to hold our state supreme court justices accountable.

    With your help – and the help of hundreds and thousands of others like you – We The People CAN vote “NO” on these unjust justices, and Clear The Bench Colorado!

  • I would like to speak for myself and about a judge who seems to be very biased. I have been in court for the last 2 years with a Predatory Lender, a bank that I did not find out was a predatory lender until after me filing with an attorney in the courts. The particular judge tried to convince me that the banks are not responsible for Brokers, Title Companys or Underwriters. The people literally submitted fraudulent paperworks to the regarding my home loan. Not only have they pulled that but when the case was first filed I saw the Presiding Judge visiting the mother of the neighbor’s home who offered me monies to move out of my home and that was followed by hime driving through the neighborhood once or twice again. And the judge that he ordered to settle the case seems to not have a honest bone in his body. As I have stepped and reviewed everything the bank asked the judge if we could have a settlement offer set, and the judge agreed never explaining to me what it meant. The order went like this if you can find a lender and or co-borrower you can buy your home back. The first opposition was the Appraiser my attorney hired and he came to appraise the home and said it was worth 170,000.00 the Bank who is the Predatory Lender decides they did not like him and wanted an AMC an Appraiser certified through Fannie Mae, because and I quote the banks attorney “they promised us special comps”. So an Appraiser comes out that works for Fannie Mae and mind you I had to pay for both appraisals. The AMC appraiser comes out and property becomes worth 200,000.00 and keep in mind there are not major upgrades to the property i.e. granite counter tops, new kitchen, or bathrooms as a matter of fact I had to pay a plumber to come in a fix a leak in the upstairs shower because it kept flooding the downstairs bathroom. We go back to court as because the settlement agreement was impossible to meet. The bank as well as both judge and attorneys and the bank included knew their was a Federal Guideline mandated by Fannie Mae that you could not purchase a property even with a co-borrower unless 5 years have passed. Each and every bank I spoke with told me that this was a tactic banks used in order to get borrowers out of the home that the banks had wronged. They were adamant about it and one bank even called me back to make sure I was still in the home. That was the same day and what coincidence, that the Article was written in the Denver Post that Fannie Mae would be going after all borrowers who run and vacate properties. I go back to court and request a recession of Settlement Agreement, and of course the banks attorney rebuttles the case and she uses Commerical Companies, what I don’t understand is how she can compare a Consumer to a Commericail Company. Well the judge who I fill is biased and apparently has a relationship with some of the folks involved and should be considered a conflict of interest decides he is going to accept the banks information and ruled in the banks favor. My question is where is the justice, the Judge also says I can appeal, however, with all that is going in the housing market, the judges are helping these banks take advantage of the consumers. Where is the fairness in this, and if right will ever not be wrong in America. It is really sad that it has come to this and these two particular Judges know who they are, I have not used their names but I will call all my friends and they will call their friends, who will call some more friends and we together will see to it that these two judges come off the bench this November.

  • Ron Cushing says:

    Thanks for the help in selecting our representatives for the Supreme court of CO.

    Now what should we do with the county of Arapahoe judges?
    The 18th Judicial district judges?
    The court of Appeals judges?

    Any links to their evaluations would be appreciated!

  • LAINA TOLSON says:

    The attorneys on the Commissions on judicial performance hide behind close doors fearing retaliation and retribution when they tell the truth about a bad judge. Those attorneys such as on the Twentieth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance are required under the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct are required to report judicial misconduct–but they hide in fear of reporting an outrageously bad judge such as Karolyn Moore. Moore works cases to such a degree for Stan Garnett that she got caught– but if you try to disqualify her you need two affidavits so where to get those

    I say a subpoena on the Commission on Judicial Performance.

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