Evaluations 2016

Evaluations of Judicial Performance – 2016

Colorado does not elect judges to office in contested elections (they are appointed by the governor from a list of 3 nominees selected by a judicial nominating commission), but they are required to receive voter approval to retain office (on a 4, 6, 8, or 10 year schedule based on the level of the court). The Colorado judges seeking retention in 2016 (appearing on the November 2014 general election ballot with a “Yes” or “No” vote option) are:

  • 1 Supreme Court Justice (Hood)
  • 10 Court of Appeals judges (Ashby, Berger, Bernard, Dunn, Furman, Hawthorne, Jones, Navarro, Roman, Terry)
  • 58 District & 36 County judges (94 total trial court judges)

Unlike the “official” government-sponsored commission “reviews” Clear The Bench Colorado does not insult your intelligence by telling you how to vote – but the following scorecards provide a substantive evaluations of the “work product” of the judges seeking your vote, presented in a scorecard format, to better inform your decision.

Colorado Supreme Court:

The following judicial performance review scorecard summarizes some of the Colorado Supreme Court cases over the current term of office for the justice seeking retention which have had the greatest impact on the largest number of Colorado Citizens (primarily those with broad public policy implications), and how the incumbent justice appearing on the November 2016 ballot voted in each case. Clear The Bench Colorado’s evaluation methodology – presented at a National Conference on Evaluating Appellate Judges  - has been acclaimed as the best in the nation for evaluating appellate court judgesGiven that it is impossible to present an analysis of every case on which a justice voted, CTBC presents a representative sample of cases addressing important constitutional questions.  Our methodology closely tracks that supposedly used by the state Commission on Judicial Performance (reviewing cases as the benchmark for assessing judicial performance). The difference is that we actually publicize the decisions and votes in each case… For information on each case, click the link (case name) to link to the ruling’s full text; see also links to related commentary for additional information. (Information on judges from other levels of court are below the Supreme Court matrix)

KEY COLORADO SUPREME COURT CASES

2014-2016

(Justice Hood took office January 2014)

JUSTICE HOOD

Summary of Judicial Performance (rated as votes for, votes against, and mixed-result) Best possible rating would be 10-0-0 Voted 4-5-1 upholding the Constitution and state law

16SA75, Colorado Department of Transportation v. Amerco Real Estate Company (Administrative Law and Procedure—Delegation of Authority—Condemnation Proceedings) (September 2016) Colorado Supreme Court holds Colorado Department of Transportation unlawfully delegated condemnation authority

Concurred in Judgment (limiting government power to delegate authority to seize property via condemnation or eminent domain

16SA153, In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause for 2015–2016 #132 & #133 (Single-Subject Rule for ballot initiatives) (July 2016) Colorado Supreme Court declares ballot initiatives to reform redistricting violate single-subject rule

See also: Colorado Supreme Court strikes reapportionment reform, retains legislative mapmaking power for themselves

Voted Yes (denying ballot access for constitutional measure to reform legislative districting process

14SC176, Warne v. Hall (Civil Procedure—Pleading) (June 2016) Colorado Supreme Court overturns 50 years of state legal precedent to increase requirements to plead civil cases (increasing pre-trial burden on civil litigants)

Voted No (Dissent argued for preserving current pleading standards under state law)

15SC667, City of Longmont v. Colo. Oil and Gas Ass’n (Preemption) (May 2016) Colorado Supreme Court rules local ban on fracking conflicts with and preempted by state law

15SC668, City of Fort Collins v. Colo. Oil and Gas Ass’n (Moratoria — Preemption) (May 2016) Colorado Supreme Court rules local moratoria on fracking conflicts with and preempted by state law

Voted Yes (unanimous ruling) upholding state law over local fracking bans/moratoria

15SA22, Dwyer v. State (Constitutional Interpretation—Amendment 23—Public School Finance Act of 1994—Negative Factor) (September 2015) Colorado Supreme Court holds that the “negative factor” does not violate Amendment 23

Voted No (arguing that “negative factor” violates Amendmt 23)

13SC233, Taxpayers for Public Education v. Douglas County School District (Standing—Aiding Religious Schools—Colorado Constitution Article IX, Section 7) (June 2015) Colorado Supreme Court declares school choice voucher program unconstitutional

See also: Colorado Supreme Court reverses Court of Appeals, strikes down Douglas County School Choice Scholarship Program

Voted Yes (striking down school choice voucher program as unconstitutional under Colorado’s so-called “Blaine Amendment”)

14SA235, Figueroa v. Speers (Election Law – Candidate Elected But Unqualified to Serve) (March 2015) Colorado Supreme Court declares candidate ineligible for ballot “winner” but office immediately vacant

See also: Colorado Supreme Court declares disqualified Adams 12 School Board candidate “legally elected” but seat nonetheless vacant

Voted Yes (allowing disqualified candidate to be elected but not take office)

12SC783, Gessler v. Colorado Common Cause (Issue Committees) (June 2014) Colorado Supreme Court upholds $200 threshold for issue committees under article XXVIII of the Colorado Constitution (“article XXVIII”) and Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA)

See also: Federal Judge rebukes Colorado Supreme Court in challenge to state campaign finance law

Concurs in Part, Dissents in Part

14SA135, IN RE: the TITLE, BALLOT TITLE AND SUBMISSION CLAUSE FOR 2013–2014 #129 (“Constitutional Definition of ‘Fee’ ”) (June 2014) Ballot initiative opponents sought to deny petitioners right to submit a proposal to clarify the constitutional definition of “fee” to voters (alleging violation of single-subject rule). Court majority (5-2 vote) upheld single-subject determination and right of petitioners to submit ballot question.

See also: When is a “fee” not a tax? When the Mullarkey Court says so… 

Voted Yes (affirming petitioner right to put proposed amendment to a vote of the people)

13SA306, Hanlen v. Gessler (Election Law—Rulemaking Authority—Emergency Election Rules—School District Director Elections) (April 2014) Whether the Colorado Secretary of State can issue a rule that permits designated election officials to determine, after ballots have been printed, that an individual appearing on the ballot is “not qualified for office,” and directs that votes cast for that individual are “invalid and must not be counted.”

See also: Colorado Supreme Court strikes rule blocking disqualified candidate

Voted Yes (allowing candidate to be declared “winner” of election in which she was unable to run)
Other Views
State Commission on Judicial Performance “evaluations” (published in the “Blue Book”) Hood’s “evaluation”

(Some viewers may wonder why we include the recommendations and rubber-stamp “reviews” of the State Commission on Judicial Performance, since their conclusions often vary from what our analysis indicates. Quite simply, we welcome the comparison – look at their “evaluations”, then compare them with our analysis. We think that discerning readers will agree: the “Blue Book” narratives lack substance and provide little or no useful information on which to base an informed decision).

Colorado Court of Appeals:

The following matrix lists the Colorado Court of Appeals judges appearing on the November ballot, with a representative sample of consequential cases decided by each judge.    Click the link (case name) for  the ruling’s full text; links to related commentary for additional information are included where relevant. (Click the judge’s name for a link to their “official” government judicial performance evaluation)
CTBC’s summary rating for each Colorado Court of Appeals judge appears below their picture.
Ratings Code: X=strike against rule of law; O=upheld rule of law; M=Mixed

APPEALS COURT JUDGES ON THE 2016 BALLOT

KEY COLORADO COURT OF APPEALS CASES

JUDGE ASHBY

O-O-X

 In 12CA2312 & 12CA2316 RYAN RANCH COMMUNITY v. KELLEY et al, concurred in ruling that an HOA could not “recover” assessments from property not part of the HOA by contract.  In 14CA2178 ROCKY MOUNTAIN GUN OWNERS et al v. HICKENLOOPER, concurred in ruling holding plaintiffs had stated a claim challenging constitutionality of gun control legislation enacted by statute in 2013.  In 15CA0582 TABOR Foundation v. Regional Transportation District, concurred that RTD need not obtain voter approval before collecting sales tax on items not previously taxed due to legislation removing statutory exemptions – ruling that a tax policy change wasn’t a change in tax policy.

JUDGE BERGER

X-X-X

In 13CA1621 TABOR FOUNDATION v. COLORADO BRIDGE ENTERPRISE,
concurred in ruling that the CBE did not levy a TABOR-prohibited tax when it imposed a bridge safety surcharge, but instead imposed a permissible fee despite imposing “fee” on non-users of bridges paid.

See also: Life in the FASTER lane – updates on the Colorado Car Tax

In 14CA1351 CRAIG and MULLINS v. MASTERPIECE CAKESHOP INC.,
concurred in ruling that Colorado’s public accommodations law trumps freedom of speech, free exercise of religion claims by cakeshop owner. (Ruling violates 1st Amdmt and freedom of association)

In 14CA1613 HOTELS et al v. COLORADO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION and CITY OF AURORA,
concurred in ruling that plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge $81 million tax subsidy to Aurora under Colorado Regional Tourism Act (RTA).Ruling improperly allows government to pick “winners & losers” in dispensing public funds

JUDGE BERNARD

X-X-X

11CA0930 GLEASON v. JUDICIAL WATCH INC (April 2012)
Ruling exempted entirety of Colorado judicial branch (including executive/regulatory functions such as attorney regulation) from Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) – essentially placing judiciary outside the law.
Specifically, “we follow the holding of our supreme court that the scope of the statutory vehicle—CORA—upon which Judicial Watch relies does not include the judiciary, and, thus, does not include regulation counsel.”
“We further conclude that, because Office of State Court Administrator held that the judiciary is not a “state agency” as that term is used in the definition of “public records” in section 24–72–202(6)(a)(I), the judiciary is also not part of the “state” as that term is used in that statute.”
In 11CA1856 & 11CA1857 TAXPAYERS FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION v. DOUGLAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (Feb 2013) dissented from ruling upholding constitutionality of the Douglas County School Choice program.See also:
Colorado Court of Appeals reverses lower court, upholds constitutionality of Douglas County School Choice program
In 14CA1816 NORTON v. ROCKY MOUNTAIN PLANNED PARENTHOOD, concurred in ruling that prohibition on use of public funds “either directly or indirectly” to pay for abortions did not apply if funds were not expressly “for the purpose of” paying for abortions (ignoring that funds are fungible).

JUDGE DUNN

O – O – M

 In 12CA1116 & 12CA1117 ROCKY MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENT AND LABOR COALITION v. COLORADO WATER QUALITY CONTROL COMMISSION, ruled that the commission complied with public notice and review requirements in conditionally approving a water project.  Upheld procedural due process. In 12CA1866 IDAHO PACIFIC LUMBER CO. v. CELESTIAL LAND COMPANY LTD, concurred in ruling that indebtedness owed to an independent contractor does not constitute “earnings” for the purpose of garnishment. Upholds procedural due process. In 12CA2613 RENO v. MARKS, dissented from ruling reversing trial court denying attorney fees for agency refusal to comply with CORA request, arguing that trial courts have discretion to determine “prevailing” party relevant to award of attorney fees.

JUDGE FURMAN

O-O-O

In 11CA1005 COLORADO MEDICAL SOCIETY v. HICKENLOOPER, concurs that Colorado law permits certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) to administer anesthesia without supervision by a physician (ruling reduces burdensome licensing and regulatory requirements)  In 12CA1703 PIONEER NATURAL RESOURCES v. COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, ruled that the DOR could not negate sales tax exemption in statute by administrative action.  Upheld primacy of statute over unauthorized regulatory determination.  In 15CA0603 ESQUIBEL v. BOARD OF EDUCATION CENTENNIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT R-1, ruled that school district director seat was properly declared “vacant” once the director was “found guilty of a felony” within the meaning of the director vacancy statute.

JUDGE HAWTHORNE

O-X-O

In 09CA1230 STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY ON CAMPUS LLC v. REGENTS OF UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, voted to overturn the CU Gun Ban (upholding Colorado state statute for concealed carry vs. University of Colorado)See also: Colorado Supreme Court upholds Colorado Court of Appeals rejection of CU Gun Ban

In 10CA2291 COLORADO ETHICS WATCH v. CLEAR THE BENCH COLORADO, ruled in favor of Colorado Ethics Watch that judges are “candidates for election” in applying campaign finance rules (despite judicial retention similarity to recall elections and phrasing of vote as yes/no ballot question).

 In 15CA1066 JEFFERSON COUNTY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION v. JEFFCO SCHOOL DISTRICT R-1, concurred in ruling that teacher’s request for sick leave is not part of the teacher’s personnel file and thus subject to CORA disclosure.

See also: Jeffco teacher sick leave records not protected

JUDGE JONES

X-O-O

10CA0364 HOTALING v. HICKENLOOPER(June 2011)
Complaint alleged misuse of public funds (by law, “no public funds shall be used… directly or indirectly” to pay for abortions); dismissed for lack of standing under pretext that funds spent by state (CDPHE) were “entirely federal funds” rather than state money
In 11CA1856 & 11CA1857 TAXPAYERS FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION v. DOUGLAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT ruled to uphold the constitutionality of the Douglas County School Choice program.See also:
Colorado Court of Appeals reverses lower court, upholds constitutionality of Douglas County School Choice program
 In 14CA1733 INDEPENDENT BANK v. PANDY, concurred in ruling that statute of limitations does not bar action to enforce prior properly rendered judgment. Upholds due process and prevents “running out the clock” on valid claims.

JUDGE NAVARRO

M-O-O

In 13CA0995 WAINSCOTT v. CENTURA HEALTH, ruled that “substantial compliance” with notice requirements for hospital lien to recover costs of providing medical services is sufficient under the law.Mixed impact because although “substantial compliance” in this case achieves purpose of act, potential for abuses of notice are increased. In 13CA0648 GASTEAZORO v. CATHOLIC HEALTH INITIATIVES COLORADO, concurred in ruling that the trial court acted within its discretion issuing jury instructions including nurses in “exercise of judgment that results in an unsuccessful outcome does not, by itself, mean that a physician or nurse was negligent.”

 In 15CA1066 JEFFERSON COUNTY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION v. JEFFCO SCHOOL DISTRICT R-1, concurred in ruling that teacher’s request for sick leave is not part of the teacher’s personnel file and thus subject to CORA disclosure.

See also: Jeffco teacher sick leave records not protected

JUDGE ROMAN

M-X-X

In 11CA0892 CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS v. COLORADO ETHICS WATCH, ruled in favor of Colorado Ethics Watch against city motion to have campaign finance complaint reviewed by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). In 11CA1041 GRAY v. UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO HOSPITAL AUTHORITY, ruled that the University of Colorado Hospital Authority is immune from liability even for willful and wanton actions resulting in death under Colorado’s Government Immunity Act (GIA), § 24-10-101  In 12CA1628 COLORADO MINING ASSOCIATION v. URBINA, ruled to dismiss complaint of rulemaking procedural violations (failure to provide notice required by law) as moot due to after-the-fact passage of legislation adopting the regulations, allowing government agencies to violate the law and due process without repercussion.

JUDGE TERRY

O-O-X

In 06CA0733 Lobato v. State of Colorado, concurredin ruling to dismiss claim to force higher state spending on education as a non-justiciable political question (properly role of the legislature, not courts).See also: Colorado Supreme Court Usurps Legislature’s Role and Authority (again!), claims power to set ‘proper’ school funding amounts In 09CA0132 COLORADO MINING ASSOCIATION LLC LLC LLC v. HUBER, concurred in ruling to strike a severance tax increase as a violation of Colorado Constitution,Art. X Section 20 (TABOR)See also: Colorado Supreme Court prepares additional assault on taxpayer rights

In 14CA1816 NORTON v. ROCKY MOUNTAIN PLANNED PARENTHOOD, ruled that prohibition on use of public funds “either directly or indirectly” to pay for abortions did not apply if funds were not expressly “for the purpose of” paying for abortions (ignoring that funds are fungible).

For those interested in reviewing the full listing of Colorado Court of Appeals rulings, the FindLaw website (with searchable database of court rulings) is a valuable resource.

District/County Judges:

Since District/County judges rule on a much larger number of cases, many (if not most) of which do not result in published opinions – and as there are a great deal more of them appearing on the ballot – the methodology employed by Clear The Bench Colorado in reviewing judicial performance at this level relies primarily upon inputs from concerned citizens and knowledgeable parties (including attorneys, court-watchers, and sources in law enforcement) and lists specific cases only by exception. Our Know Your Judge: Citizen Input on District/County Judges 2016 page lists comments on each judge organized by judicial district. Anyone wishing to comment on any of the judges on this year’s ballot are welcome to submit comments and responsible, documented articles of reasonable length (please, no rants, slams, or diatribes) to our Know Your Judge: Citizen Input page 2016, or our Sound Off! page. Comments on any of the judicial performance evaluations are welcome, below.

45 Responses to Evaluations 2016

  • B Bland says:

    This information is great because many, We the People rarely see the inside of a Court of Law.
    Please direct me to the information/evaluations of the District Court Judges- 18th Judicial District in particular to help me retain/no retain the judges on the 2016 ballot.

  • Mike says:

    This kind of information is critical to voters who want to understand which judges are faithful to the Constitution and which are liberal activists. I know of no other practical source of such information that is critical in voting to retain/remove judges. If Clear the Bench Colorado will continue to provide this information in a timely manner and even make all Coloradoans aware of what it offers, it’s worth supporting from a monetary standpoint.

  • Ronald Adams says:

    hi so do you have recommendations to retain or not? is there a list? I don’t quite understand thanks

  • CTBC Director says:

    Ron,

    CTBC doesn’t insult your intelligence by telling you how to vote (like the “official” taxpayer-funded review commissions).
    CTBC provides information, in a “scorecard” format, to inform your vote.
    If you believe that a “passing” grade is 50% or more, vote accordingly.
    If you believe judges should be held to a higher standard, make that cal, too.

  • Shay Murphy says:

    Thank you so much for the work you do in compiling this information! It is absolutely essential for voters to understand how these judges are ruling.

  • Kirstie Bryant says:

    Fabulous. I have never heard of any of these people. I kept looking at my ballot being disgusted that I was going to have to just go eeny meeny mighty moe and select. Not really a good way to respect the democratic process.

    We use this site to spark intelligent super conversation amongst our family. Only myself and my partner can vote but our son is 17 and intelligent. We are from three different political backgrounds. This was great!!!

  • CTBC Director says:

    The lack of substantive information provided by the “official” reviews is a scandal.
    Glad to hear that you were able to use CTBC’s information to spark discussion – even (particularly!) from different political backgrounds.
    Thanks for the feedback!

  • Shawn Gress says:

    I’m curious as to how you selected the cases used to represent the voting records of each judge, mostly because it’s pretty clear that they have a few more than three over their career. I appreciate fully the work you are doing. I know it’d be an incredible undertaking of time and effort to go through and X/O/M for each individual court ruling, but the skeptic in me is curious.

    Thanks for putting for the effort!

  • CTBC Director says:

    Shawn,

    that’s an excellent question, which CTBC is happy to answer.

    As noted on the Evaluations page prefacing the “scorecard” ratings:
    “Given that it is impossible to present an analysis of every case on which a justice voted, CTBC presents a representative sample of cases addressing important constitutional questions.” Some judges have several relevant rulings (so the challenge is paring down the number to manageable levels); others, few published opinions (so the challenge is finding opinions of broad public interest and impact).

    The critical criterion is “addressing important constitutional questions” – i.e. issues of general public interest, beyond the parties to the case.
    You’ll note that CTBC typically does not cite cases involving straightforward application of criminal law, which are seldom controversial.
    Cases involving constitutional rights and matters of public policy (taxation, school choice, governance in general) are highlighted.

    Again, the selection is meant to highlight those cases of the broadest public impact and interest.
    Hope that explanation is helpful.

  • Shawn Gress says:

    Thank you, first and foremost, for your prompt reply. I appreciate the transparency, which is clearly not apparent in the Colorado Judicial System.

    You’ve made a believer (albeit a wary one) out of me.

    Keep up the good work!

  • CTBC Director says:

    Thanks, Shawn –
    transparency is paramount.
    CTBC also provides the same information as the “official” judicial reviews, information from other sources, and the tools for those interested in doing further research.
    Clearly, we cannot provide all possible information – but do attempt to provide as broad a baseline of available information as possible.
    Please spread the word – and CTBC is happy to accept suggestions and constructive criticism, as well. ;-)

  • G Weiss says:

    Until the dysfunctional justice system cleans up its’ act; voting out all residing justices will mitigate their concentration of power.
    Sad ….. profession of shyster$

  • Sean says:

    I was totally without a basis for making these very important judicial retention decisions on my ballot before finding CBCO. The “blue book” all voters are sent is conspicuous at best in their recommendation to retain 100% of all judges. This smacks more of a good old boy network than of an in-depth and unbiased assessment of rulings (my non-legal OPINION). Thank you for this huge effort to inform the citizenry and to provide a format that allows “We the People” to evaluate and decide for ourselves.

  • Jesse Puga says:

    Really nice tool to use and easy to understand format. I only wish they could review all the judges. Thank you so much!

  • Wendy Lague says:

    Having moved her just 6 months ago – I can appreciate this type of material to find out who will UPHOLD our constitution and who will trample it…What a huge relief as I stare at my ballot and try to figure them out! Thanks!
    wsl

  • randy perkins says:

    People should be required to read something about these judges before voting. Otherwise we should not be voting. Just a short term and out they go would be best. Thanks for your work.

  • Heath Wehrman says:

    Two years ago I had some interaction with the legal system. Needless to say, I have an even greater appreciation of the need for quality judges and the power of district attorneys. Thanks for this resource. Everyone pass the word!

  • David Brick says:

    Regarding Justice Hood, http://www.americhicks.com website states: “Judge Hood ruled against the Dougco School Voucher Program, Masterpiece Bakery and TABOR. A trifecta NO.”

    Your analysis does not mention any of these three issues. I’m a little confused by this since all three issues would seem to be meet your criteria of: “…cases over the current term of office for the justice seeking retention which have had the greatest impact on the largest number of Colorado Citizens (primarily those with broad public policy implications)…”

    The discrepancy of “Judge” vs. “Justice” in Americhicks’ quote didn’t escape my notice. Were these cases he ruled on before becoming a Supreme Court Justice?

  • CTBC Director says:

    CTBC can’t speak for the Americhicks article – although they seem to rely quite a bit on CTBC’s analysis.

    CTBC’s analysis of Justice Hood did include his vote against the DougCo School Voucher Program:
    13SC233, Taxpayers for Public Education v. Douglas County School District (Standing—Aiding Religious Schools—Colorado Constitution Article IX, Section 7) (June 2015) Colorado Supreme Court declares school choice voucher program unconstitutional

    See also: Colorado Supreme Court reverses Court of Appeals, strikes down Douglas County School Choice Scholarship Program

    On the Masterpiece Bakery case, Justice Hood’s role was limited to denying certiorari (review) of the Court of Appeals ruling –
    also cited in CTBC’s analysis of the Court of Appeals judges (Judge Berger concurred in that ruling).

    As far as TABOR cases: some are pending before the Colorado Supreme Court, but in Hood’s 2+ years as a justice, he has not yet ruled in a TABOR case (to our knowledge); he may have ruled on some cases as a lower court judge. (If we missed one – please point it out).

  • Anselm Vehlme says:

    If 10-0-0 is a perfect score and Judge Hood is 4-5-1…what conclusion am I to draw? …Does any judge come close to perfect? Is Judge Hoods score worthy of my vote or not? Where do I find similar ratings for other judges on the ballot 2016? I find your “scorecard” difficult to understand and thus to not be helpful in voting. Im sure I am missing something? Thank you for your help.

  • Linda J Sanchez says:

    I find my self frustrated as judges affiliation has a lot to do with who they are and think. Where do we find this information.

  • CTBC Director says:

    Everyone’s thresholds for what constitutes an “acceptable” score for a Supreme Court justice vary – and, of course, some may disagree with CTBC’s ratings.

    For comparison purposes (since Justice Hood is the ONLY Colorado Supreme Court justice on the ballot this year), using the same scale:

    In 2014, there were two Colorado Supreme Court justices on the ballot:
    Justice Boatright (who scored a 6-2-2) and Justice Marquez (who scored a 5-2-2, with a recusal in one case)
    http://www.clearthebenchcolorado.org/evaluations-2014/

    In 2012, there was also a single Colorado Supreme Court justice on the ballot:
    Justice Coats, who scored a 6-2-2
    http://www.clearthebenchcolorado.org/evaluations-2012/

    In 2010 (the year of CTBC’s genesis, and the reason for the name) there were originally 4 Colorado Supreme Court justices up for retention (one dropped out from the opposition, leaving only three remaining on the ballot):
    Justice Bender, scoring 0-7; Justice Martinez, scoring 0-7; and Justice Rice, scoring 2-4-1 (scores flipped to match the later positive scale)

    If you believe that a Justice who only votes to uphold the Constitution less than half the time is worth keeping, then vote accordingly.
    If you believe that a Justice should vote more than half the time to uphold the Constitution, then vote accordingly.
    Either way, you’re armed with more substantive information than anonymous surveys and “votes” by unknown commissioners without documented basis.

  • CTBC Director says:

    CTBC has found the partisan affiliation of a judge (or the governor who appointed the judge) an unreliable indicator, at best, on their actual performance.
    For those interested in this (unreliable) datum, one can correlate the judge’s nomination date with the tenure of the governor at the time of appointment.
    Again, CTBC has found both good and bad judges appointed by governors of both parties.

  • Jennifer P says:

    Thank you for this service. This has become my “go to” page for judicial research each election cycle.

  • dave orr says:

    real shame its almost mission impossible to get rid of corrupt federal judges (impeachment required by US house and Senate). Any thoughts into a federal score-card?

  • Scott M. says:

    Thank you so much for creating this site! It is incredibly helpful in our decision making for this most important branch (1/3) of our state government. We always used the Blue Book before, but it just never seemed right that everyone that was “running” be retained. It must take a lot of work to compile this information in a clear, concise and transparent form we thank you for your efforts!

  • Ann Conner says:

    Thank you CTBC for providing information on case decisions by our judges, and AGs, vital to our retention process. I rely on it!!!

  • Kelly says:

    Thanks so much for your valuable collection of information regarding trials and recommendations regarding judges. It helps so much! I don’t know of any other source of information regarding voting on these judges that provides a conservative perspective.
    Thanks!

  • Russell Chapman says:

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful and I hope not to offend you, BUT
    I was looking for a list of pro-gun judges for the 2016 elections. I wanted to find the most simple list and grading system like the NRA/ILA site does. I was short on time and didn’t want to read so many pages of info on each judge- just a list of endorsed/not endorsed.
    Again, I hope not to offend you, but just pass an idea to you.
    Thanks very much!

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you!
    I have used this since its inception and appreciate it every year.
    That said, I am at a loss for District and County Court Judges and am leaving them blank – I have no idea how to discern their leanings and there are no comments except, for Jeffco, on Greene, and I have no sense of where those comments are coming from.
    Makes what you DO have ever more appreciated and creates a longing for District and County information.
    Any suggestions on those for future elections?

  • Bob Harold says:

    Thank You for your hard work! By perusing your website and then voting the opposite I am confident I avoided voting for any Tea-Party gun nuts. Thanks Again!

  • CTBC Director says:

    Even the Lunatic Left praises the substantive evaluations of judicial performance provided by Clear The Bench Colorado! ;-)

  • CTBC Director says:

    No offense taken.

    CTBC is not (and cannot be) a single-issue advocacy organization.
    That said:
    information relevant to your inquiry IS available in CTBC’s substantive reviews of judicial performance, and completely absent from the “official” taxpayer-funded commission reviews.

    Although there are actually few gun rights cases that have been decided in Colorado (state) courts over the past few years, the two major cases that DID make it as far as the appellate level are included:

    1) the “CU Gun Ban” case originally decided in the Court of Appeals, in which Judge Hawthorne voted to overturn the gun ban as conflicting with state law

    2) the constitutional challenge to the 2013 mag ban and “background check” legislation, which the Court of Appeals (including Judge Ashby) ruled could proceed (defeating a “standing” challenge).

    Both cases, and the Court of Appeals judges standing for retention this year who ruled in those cases, are listed in CTBC’s Evaluations 2016 scorecard:
    http://www.clearthebenchcolorado.org/evaluations-2016/

  • CTBC Director says:

    You’re very welcome.

    The lack of resources to conduct a substantive analysis of District/County judges is sorely felt –
    and very much needed.

    Involvement of more people in each district (a citizens’ judicial oversight committee, or even a loose network) would be the best approach.
    Unfortunately, attempts to establish enough such groups in the past have fallen short – but we’re always willing to help foster or facilitate another try.

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you for all you do. I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. : ) As I said, I use this site every election and it helps immensely!

    One piece to add is that just after I wrote the above yesterday (ask and it is given) I found this site below that tells you what governor (R or D) appointed a judge, so that at least gives you the most basic information. In fact, it confirmed what one woman had written that she said no on all the judges except one, for reasons she gave. All of our judges on our ballot were appointed by Ritter or Hickenlooper. That speaks for itself.

    https://ballotpedia.org/Courts_and_judges_by_state

  • CTBC Director says:

    You’re very welcome.

    Although knowing which governor appointed a judge may provide SOME insight, CTBC has found it to be an unreliable indicator, at best.
    Both good and bad judges have been appointed by governors of both parties.
    Also, the governors are somewhat constrained in their selection of judges by the judicial nominating commission – which gives them a list of 2-3 judges from which to choose.

    See “Colorado’s ‘Merit Selection’ Judicial Nominating Process” for more detail:
    http://www.clearthebenchcolorado.org/2013/12/02/colorados-merit-selection-judicial-nominating-process/

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