Know Your Judge: Citizen Input on District/County Judges 2014

On this page, Clear The Bench Colorado has collected comments and input from citizens across the state on judges in district and county courts.

(Evaluations of appellate courts – the Colorado Supreme Court & Court of Appeals – are found on the Evaluations 2014 page)

Unless specifically noted, publication of any comments or recommendation on district or county court judges does NOT imply a recommendation by Clear The Bench Colorado; unfortunately, we have not had the resources (either funding or time) to review each of the 141 trial court judges on this year’s ballot.  CTBC takes no official position on any of the district and county court judges seeking retention this year, and only provides the information below as a resource to inform voters.

CTBC has organized the comments received, by judicial district, as they have come in, as a community service to the hundreds of people who have called, E-mailed, Facebooked, or Tweeted asking for more information on their local judges as an alternative to the thoroughly discredited rubber-stamp “retain” recommendations purveyed by the “Blue Book”

Anyone wishing to comment on any judges on this year’s ballot is welcome to submit comments and responsible, documented articles of reasonable length (please, no rants or diatribes) as comments on this page or to our Sound Off! page.

(All judicial districts:  another website providing recommendations on District & County Judges in Colorado)

FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Gilpin, Jefferson Counties)

District Judge : Honorable Randall C. Arp
Comments: (also, see below)

  • “Judge Arp seems to not believe in nor understand child abuse”
  • “Additionally, I found Judge Arp extremely gender biased against women. He would continuously tell my female attorney to wrap it up after a few minutes while letting my ex-husband’s male attorney go on for literally hours.”
  • “Judge Arp badgered a seasoned trauma therapist so severely and allowed his court to get out of hand so much that the therapist gave this as the reason he no longer felt safe working with our son.”
  • “I was very impressed with how prepared Judge Arp was for my case and how he was able to cut to the chase and stick to what was pertinent.”

District Judge : Honorable Margie L. Enquist
Comments:

District Judge : Honorable Ann Gail Meinster
Comments:

  • “Ann Gail Meinster should be retained in the First Judicial District. Several years ago, before she was appointed as a justice, Gail was my daughter’s assigned rep/counsel in the criminal case prosecuted against her father who’d abused her. Ms. Meinster truly has a heart for children and we need more justices like her to help protect our children from the many predators out there–both strangers and the ones whom are in a position of trust (the worst kind, in my view). I was impressed with her integrity, calm demeanor, and warm concern.”
  • “Ann Gail Meinster is a dirty judge that takes kickbacks from Jefferson County Division of Children Youth and Families to push through unlawful TPR motions in an adoption for profit scheme by the county to obtain federal funds for the Division.”

District Judge : Honorable Lily Oeffler
Comments:

District Judge : Honorable Tamara Russell
Comments:

District Judge : Honorable Christopher C. Zenisek
Comments:

Jefferson County Judge : Honorable Susan L. Fisch
Comments:

Jefferson County Judge : Honorable Mark Randall
Comments:

  • “County Judge Mark Randall allowed multiple procedural violations in a 3 day trial on a misdemeanor charge of: Interference of Government Operations involving the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.  Judge Randall failed to notify jury members on the constitutionality of jury nullification.  Randall advised jury members to disregard procedural violations in his courtroom prior to jury deliberations.  Judge Randall runs his courtroom in accordance with protecting big government.”

Jefferson County Judge : Honorable Ryan J. Stuart
Comments:

Jefferson County Judge : Honorable Thomas Vance
Comments:

Jefferson County Judge : Honorable Jean Woodford
Comments:

No county court judges standing for retention in Gilpin County.

SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Denver County)

District Judge : Honorable Martin F. Egelhoff
Comments:

District Judge : Honorable J. Eric Elliff
Comments:

District Judge : Honorable A. Bruce Jones
Comments:

District Judge : Honorable John Madden
Comments:
Judge Madden, after taking over a case from another judge, failed to prosecute attorneys for contempt of court following repeated disregard of court orders.  Judge Madden appeared to be motivated more by clearing his docket than in seeing justice done.

District Judge : Honorable Robert L. McGahey Jr.
Comments:
Judge McGahey upheld the state constitution against legal challenges by both major parties in the Colorado Recalls case.
See “Denver District Judge upholds Constitution over election law statute in Colorado Recall legal challenge

District Judge : Honorable Sheila Ann Rappaport
Comments:
Judge Rappaport handed down the egregiously biased, poorly reasoned ruling in the Douglas County School Choice Voucher Program case (her ruling was subsequently overturned by the Colorado Supreme Court).
See “Colorado Governor Hickenlooper announces state will appeal Denver judge’s ruling on Lobato school-funding lawsuit

District Judge : Honorable Elizabeth Anne Starrs
Comments:

District Judge : Honorable Michael J. Vallejos
Comments:

District-Probate Judge : Honorable Elizabeth D. Leith
Comments:

Denver County Judge : Honorable Johnny Charles Barajas
Comments:

Denver County Judge : Honorable James B. Breese
Comments:

Denver County Judge : Honorable Dianne L. Briscoe 
Comments: One of exceedingly few judges appearing on the 2014 ballot who did not receive a rubber-stamp “retain” recommendation by the “official” judicial performance evaluation commission.

Denver County Judge : Honorable Brian Thomas Campbell
Comments:

Denver County Judge : Honorable Clarisse Gonzalez Mangnall
Comments:

THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Huerfano, Las Animas Counties)

No district court judges standing for retention.

No Huerfano county court judges standing for retention.
Las Animas County Judge : Honorable Bruce A. Billings

FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (El Paso, Teller Counties)

District Judge : Honorable William Bain
Comments:

  • “Judge Bain has a habit of not listening to the facts of a case, or failing to independently verify so-called facts presented as evidence.  He is predisposed to listen to bureaucrats and accept their testimony at face value instead of insisting on documentation.”
  • “Judge Bain is a misogynist who rules against families and children.”
  • “Judge Bain is a pompous, arrogant, East Coast Liberal who does not reflect Colorado values.”

District Judge : Honorable Edward S. Col
District Judge : Honorable Jann DuBois
District Judge : Honorable Barbara L. Hughes
Comments:

  • I had a very negative experience with 4th Judicial District (El Paso County) District Judge, Honorable Barbara L. Hughes in 2010, and found her to be either corrupt and/or incompetent.  While a Magistrate, Judge Hughes engaged in  ”fact-finding” with no basis in factual data, in a case that should never have been heard in a Colorado courtroom.  Judge Hughes should not be retained. She is most likely one of our previous Governor’s (Bill Ritter) left-wing cronies. [Ed. see more on the Sound Off! page - edited for length]

District Judge : Honorable Thomas Kelly Kane
District Judge : Honorable Thomas L. Kennedy
District Judge : Honorable Michael P. McHenry
District Judge : Honorable David Prince
District Judge : Honorable Gregory R. Werner

El Paso County Judge : Honorable Christopher Edward Acker
El Paso County Judge : Honorable Lawrence D. Martin
El Paso County Judge : Honorable Douglas J. Miles
El Paso County Judge : Honorable Ann M. Rotolo
El Paso County Judge : Honorable Stephen J. Sletta
El Paso County Judge : Honorable Jonathan L. Walker
El Paso County Judge : Honorable Regina Walter

Teller County Judge : Honorable Lin Billings-Vela

FIFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, Summit Counties)

District Judge : Honorable Mark D. Thompson
District Judge : Honorable Frederick Walker Gannett
District Judge : Honorable Russell H. Granger

No county court judges standing for retention from Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, or Summit Counties.

SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Archuleta, La Plata, San Juan Counties)

District Judge : Honorable Suzanne F. Carlson

No Archuleta county court judges standing for retention.
La Plata County Judge : Honorable Martha Tinsley Minot
No San Juan county court judges standing for retention.

SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel Counties)

District Judge : Honorable J. Steven Patrick.
District Judge : Honorable Mary E. Deganhart

No Delta county court judges standing for retention.

No Gunnison county court judges standing for retention.
No Hinsdale county court judges standing for retention.

Montrose County Judge : Honorable Julie J. Huffman
Comments:

  • “Attorneys in the Seventh Judicial District gave Montrose County Judge Julie Hoffman a rating of 50% retain and 50% not to retain. Of non-attorneys responding to the survey 59% recommended to retain, 38% not to retain, and 3% made no recommendation regarding retention. However, given the small number of responses from both groups, the survey results may not be significant.”

Montrose County Judge : Honorable Ben A. Morris
Ouray County Judge : Honorable David Scott Westfall

San Miguel County Judge : Honorable Scott Timothy Erickson

EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Jackson, Larimer Counties)

District Judge : Honorable Julie Kunce Field
Comments:

  • VOTE NO ON JUDGE KUNZE-FIELD  The triumvirate consisting of former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Judge Julie Field and Pat Stryker’s ICLEI interests have been involved in a series of “amazing coincidences”, which culminated in the neutralization of Stacy Lynne as their main ICLEI/Agenda 21 opponent. This was accomplished by the stealing of Lynne’s son in one of the biggest miscarriages of justice ever witnessed in a family court. All three parties are inextricably tied to ICLEI/Agenda 21 interests.
  • Julie Kuntz Field, 8th Judicial District, needs to be disbarred. I witnessed testimony in her court that gave a father, who had never entered into the life of his son, total parental control over the son after witness testimony that this man had threatened the life of the child and his mother. The mother had dared to share with the public the corruption of Agenda 21 and I.C.L.E.I. and it’s effect on small business’s in Ft Collins. She was a political threat that needed to be taught a lesson and the judge took care of the dirty work by blatantly carrying out this injustice.
  • I’ve been able to see the injustice in the Larimer County Courts first hand. Judge Julie Fields of Larimer County has taken a child from his Mother, although this Mother has done NOTHING WRONG!! Not even a speeding ticket, and gave full custody to the father. A father who has not been in the child’s life… at all! All because this Mother was helping the citizens of this State, and warning of corruption!!!! Our Courts are a flaming mess, to anyone bothering to look. I’ve watched magistrates giving rulings, without authority. How Far We Have Fallen as A Nation!

District Judge : Honorable Thomas R. French
Comments:

  • “8th Judicial District Court Judge Thomas French violated Colorado statute, court rules and procedures in December 2013 when he dismissed a civil lawsuit that was properly filed in Larimer County. He claimed that jurisdiction was improper. French knew at the time he dismissed it that he was violating the law and that shows willful intent to obstruct justice.”

District Judge : Honorable Stephen E. Howard

Jackson County Judge : Honorable Cindy Wilson

Larimer County Judge : Honorable Thomas L. Lynch
Larimer County Judge : Honorable Peter E. Schoon Jr.

NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Garfield, Pitkin, Rio Blanco Counties)

District Judge : Honorable Denise K. Lynch
Garfield County Judge : Honorable Paul H. Metzger
Garfield County Judge : Honorable Jonathan Bruce Pototsky

Pitkin County Judge : Honorable Erin Fernandez-Ely
Rio Blanco County Judge : Honorable Laurie Noble

TENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Pueblo County)

District Judge : Honorable William David Alexander

Pueblo County Judge : Honorable Steven Bruce Fieldman

Pueblo County Judge : Honorable Valerie Villanueva Haynes
Comments:
One of exceedingly few judges appearing on the 2014 ballot who actually received a “do not retain” recommendation from the normally rubber-stamp “retain” votes by the “official” judicial performance evaluation commission.

Only 11% of attorneys surveyed voted to retain County Judge Valerie Villaneua-Haynes while a full 74% said she should not be retained, the worst performance rating the EJF has seen.

Pueblo County Judge : Honorable David L. Lobato

ELEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Park Counties)

District Judge : Honorable David M. Thorson

No Chaffee county court judges standing for retention.
Custer County Judge : Honorable Peter F. Michaelson
Fremont County Judge : Honorable Norman C. Cooling

Park County Judge : Honorable Brian L. Green

TWELFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache Counties)

District Judge : Honorable Michael A. Gonzales
Alamosa County Judge : Honorable Daniel Austin Walz
Costilla County Judge : Honorable Kimberly Lynn Wood
Comments:

  • Judge Wood received a split vote (7-2, with one abstention) from the review commission, and noted negative survey feedback (only 50% to retain, 24% non-retain). Attorney respondents addressed Judge Wood’s legal reasoning skills, while non-attorney respondents feel that Judge Wood’s rulings are not solely based on the application of the law to the facts before her.

Rio Grande County Judge : Honorable Patrick Hayes

No county court judges standing for retention in Conejos, Mineral and Saguache Counties.

THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Yuma Counties)

District Judge : Honorable Kevin L. Hoyer
District Judge : Honorable Douglas R. Vann

Kit Carson County Judge : Honorable Michael K. Grinnan
Morgan County Judge : Honorable Michael J. Schingle
Yuma County Judge : Honorable Sara M. Wagers-Johnson
Comments:

  • Judge Wagers-Johnson received a split vote (7-3) from the review commission, which noted negative survey feedback from attorneys (only 50% to retain, 35% non-retain) and non-attorneys (61% retain, 18% non-retain, 21% no opinion).  Survey responses indicated scores below the statewide average for other county judges up for retention in several areas.

No county court judges standing for retention in Logan, Phillips, Sedgwick and Washington Counties.

FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Grand, Moffat, Routt Counties)

District Judge : Honorable Shelley A. Hill

Grand County Judge : Honorable Ben W. McClelland
Comments:
One of exceedingly few judges appearing on the 2014 ballot who actually received a “do not retain” recommendation from the normally rubber-stamp “retain” votes by the “official” judicial performance evaluation commission.

  • Survey results and observation by Commissioners regarding Judge McClelland were mixed. To the positive, it was generally regarded that Judge McClelland is consistent in his rulings, works to learn the law, gives the parties a fair chance to present their cases, and is accommodating when it comes to scheduling. He moves his docket forward, is efficient in court, and is a hard worker. His oral communications in court are clear and direct and he maintains control over his courtroom. To the negative, commenters, including some Commissioners, described Judge McClelland as arrogant, defensive, impatient, and lacking appropriate judicial demeanor.
  • Judge McClelland notes that only 11 attorneys responded to the survey (skewing statistical sample size).  Positive comments included “patient,” “smart,” “knows the law,” and “consistent rulings.” Non-attorneys, including defendants, provided 83 written positive comments and 64 negative comments. The Appeals Courts have upheld all of my trial court rulings. I’m strict in the application of the law.

Moffat County Judge : Honorable Sandra H. Gardner
Routt County Judge : Honorable James H. Garrecht

FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Prowers Counties)

No district court judges standing for retention.
Baca County Judge : Honorable Debra M. Gunkel
Cheyenne County Judge : Honorable Gerald Keefe
Kiowa County Judge : Honorable Gary W. Davis
Prowers County Judge : Honorable Larry Eugene Stutler

SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Bent, Crowley, Otero Counties)

No district court judges standing for retention.
No Bent county court judges standing for retention.
Crowley County Judge : Honorable Suzanne A. Grant
Otero County Judge : Honorable Douglas R. Manley

SEVENTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Adams, Broomfield Counties)

District Judge : Honorable Robert Walter Kiesnowski Jr.
District Judge : Honorable John E. Popovich
District Judge : Honorable Ted C. Tow III
District Judge : Honorable Mark Douglas Warner
District Judge : Honorable Francis C. Wasserman
District Judge : Honorable Craig Welling

Adams County Judge : Honorable Brian Nathaniel Bowen
Adams County Judge : Honorable Michael A. Cox
Adams County Judge : Honorable Robert S. Doyle
Adams County Judge : Honorable Byron Lynn Howell
Adams County Judge : Honorable Sabino E. Romano
Adams County Judge : Honorable Dianna L. Roybal
Comments: 

  • Judge Roybal received a split vote (5-3) from the review commission; of attorneys surveyed, 44% voted to retain, 40% non-retain.  Criticism focused on questions concerning the judge’s knowledge and application of the law, with her cases having the highest proportional number of appeals in the district.

Broomfield County Judge : Honorable Amy Elizabeth Bockman

EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, Lincoln Counties)

District Judge : Honorable Michelle Ann Amico
Comments: 

  • There is, apparently, an organized effort to “Vote No on Judge Amico” (we’ve seen signs throughout the SE Denver & Aurora area):
    Clear The Bench Colorado takes no position, but notes this fact for informational purposes
  • “Judge Amico made rulings without hearing from both parties.  Judge Amico did not require evidence.  She has convicted loving parents and removed or limited their parenting time based soley on hearsay and without the need to hear from the other party.”
  • “One prominent Arapahoe County Family Law Firm stated that Judge Amico has caused more havoc and damage to families in her first term on the bench than they have ever seen any Judge accomplish. “
  • “Judge Amico has a habit of pointing her finger at families in the viewing area and yelling at them when she has been told hearsay from the other party. She does not allow the accused to defend themselves. She judges them and sanctions them.”
  • “Judge Amico has not allowed due process in many family custody cases. Judge Amico cannot continue as a prosecutor of families who are going through difficult custody disputes.”
  • “The information posted about Judge Amico is outright false. When she was in the domestic relations division, she made very thoughtful decisions. She cares very much about children and families. She is now in a criminal division. She is very well respected by the family law bar, who are the attorneys who regulary appeared in front of her and 88 percent of those attorneys voted to retain her when they were surveyed. I encourage people to read her surveys and reviews and not just the comments made by this one “group.” This is clearly someone who takes issue with an adverse ruling she made.” – Arapahoe County Bar Member
  • NOTE: although CTBC posted the above comment in the interest of fairness, it should be noted that the commenter entered a false E-mail address – for what it’s worth.
  • “All the negative comments about this judge are true. We have a case in front of her right now and she will not even allow anyone to speak. She accuses people of lying to her and then doesn’t allow a rebuttal. Puts people in cuffs and has them hauled away with no explanation. She has completely ripped our family apart, and she did it with glee. She actually laughed as she had my son taken away.”

District Judge : Honorable F. Stephen Collins

District Judge : Honorable Paul A. King
Comments:

  • “Judge King allows his personal bias to rule his decisions; if he doesn’t like you or your case – you lose (no matter what the law says)”
  • “Judge King wouldn’t even read the law and the legal briefs before dismissing several cases, out of spite or just plain laziness.  He doesn’t deserve another term in office.”

District Judge : Honorable Charles M. Pratt
Comments:

  • “Judge Pratt is biased against pro se litigants. He has committed multiple direct and intentional violations of substantive and procedural due process of law, including removing filed documents and jury fees from the files.  Judge Pratt has multiple complaints filed with the Office of Judicial Discipline, the 18th Judicial District, and the Colorado Supreme Court, but they’ve done nothing.”
  • “When we turned to the district court for protection, Charles Pratt demonstrated substantial discrimination against us as a pro-se party. He always found for the party represented by an attorney, even when its arguments were clearly wrong, illegal, even criminal. His decisions became so ridiculously unfair, that after the beginning, they would frequently contradict earlier decisions, yet still against the pro-se party. At one point when we asked that he provide justice as he is mandated by the Colorado Constitution, he claimed that it was not his job to provide justice, and hence would not. In the end, he violated Colorado’s prohibition against attorney fees, effectively taking our family’s home with an oppressive judgment, yet preventing us from be heard fairly in a trial. He acted as if we, law, and justice have no consideration whatsoever. Obviously, we are in the process of appealing his injustice. Colorado would be much better off without him causing people harm.”

District Judge : Honorable Gerald J. Rafferty

District Judge : Honorable Theresa Michelle Slade
Comments:
“Judge Theresa michelle Slade and Judge Hada or both corrupt. Theresa Slade did not establish jurisdiction and I was railroaded by her predecessor, Valaria Spencer in a divorce and custody hearing (amazingly I was unable to receive the domestic violence paperwork where my ex pleaded down after serving 28 days in county jail). They do not review paperwork and they will always side with their buddies (other judges, attorneys) and they do not uphold the Constitution as is their sworn duty. The entirety of the “justice system” in the US is corrupt. Everyone is entitled to a trail by jury regardless of the case. If it comes with a court order that’s legally enforceable, you have a right to trial by jury (smaller cases would have a petit jury). Please vote against this monster of a woman!!!!!”

District Judge : Honorable Elizabeth Beebe Volz
Comments: 

  • Judge Volz received a split vote (7-3) from the review commission; of attorneys surveyed, 57% voted to retain, 22% non-retain.  Criticism focused on questions concerning the judge’s knowledge and application of the law, with her cases having the highest proportional number of appeals in the district.  Judge Volz received below average marks in case management, application and knowledge of the law, communications, demeanor and diligence.

District Judge : Honorable John L. Wheeler

Arapahoe County Judge : Honorable Dana Elizabeth Murray
Arapahoe County Judge : Honorable Cheryl Rowles-Stokes
Comments:

  • Please do NOT RETAIN Judge Cheryl Rowles-Stokes, 18th District Arapahoe County Court Judge. I personally witnessed her violate a defendant’s constitutional right to face his accuser, play extremely “fast and loose” with the law, as well as her complete disregard of facts! She shows absolute bias, allows DA’s to “lie and wait” during trials. The second a defendant walks into her courtroom, she views him as guilty and it shows! She abuses her authority and is on a constant “power trip” waiting for any opportunity to “show you who’s boss”!
  • Even the Denver Post commented on the arrogance and abuse of power by this 18th Judicial District judge -
    which the corrupt and incestuous “judicial performance evaluation” commission unanimously recommended to “retain” anyway: http://www.denverpost.com/carroll/ci_26705193/one-vengeful-judge

Arapahoe County Judge : Honorable Robert Charles Tobias
Arapahoe County Judge : Honorable Darren Louis Vahle

Douglas County Judge : Honorable Lawrence Bowling 
Douglas County Judge : Honorable Monica J. Gomez
Douglas County Judge : Honorable Susanna Meissner-Cutler

Elbert County Judge : Honorable Palmer L. Boyette

Lincoln County Judge : Honorable Truston Lee Fisher

NINETEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Weld County)

District Judge : Honorable Timothy G. Kerns
District Judge : Honorable Marcelo Adrian Kopcow

Weld County Judge : Honorable John J. Briggs
Weld County Judge : Honorable Michele Meyer
Weld County Judge : Honorable Dana Nichols
Weld County Judge : Honorable Charles S. Unfug

TWENTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Boulder County)

District Judge : Honorable Maria E. Berkenkotter

District Judge : Honorable Ingrid S. Bakke

District Judge : Honorable Patrick Butler

District Judge : Honorable Judith L. LaBuda
Comments: 

  • “I have watched Judy LaBuda snear at those whom she is swearing in at the witness stand. LaBuda will write cut-throat orders with an air of sarcasm, adding insult to injury while she harms an innocent party. It is apparent that she will take sides on cases with whom she has a personal relationship. The fact that she had an affair with her intern shows she has no boundaries. She does not look at new evidence. She does not deserve the words “honorable” next to her name. She is an insult to Boulder County.”

District Judge : Honorable Andrew Ross Macdonald
Comments: 

  • “I urge voters to vote not to retain Judge Andrew Ross Macdonald. I was an observer in a felony criminal trial that Judge Macdonald was presiding over and his bias toward the prosecution was outrageous. He was rude and dismissive toward the defense attorney and was overruling defense objections before the defense attorney finished relating what he was objecting to. The Judge allowed hearsay evidence to be admitted into the court record and read to the jury… and allowed the prosecution to allege two additional crimes that were unsupported by forensic evidence”
    This judge, based on what I’ve observed, has very little interest in carrying out his duties in a fair and impartial manner, and therefore, should not be retained.”

Boulder County Judge : Honorable David Archuleta

Boulder County Judge : Honorable Noel E. Blum 

Boulder County Judge : Honorable Karolyn Moore
Comments:
One of exceedingly few judges appearing on the 2014 ballot who actually received a “do not retain” recommendation from the normally rubber-stamp “retain” votes by the “official” judicial performance evaluation commission.

  • Judge Moore received a split vote (6-4 to not retain) from the review commission; of attorneys surveyed, 45% voted to retain, 40% non-retain, while non-attorneys voted 90% to retain, 5% to non-retain – a large discrepancy.  Notably, the attorney surveys included 93 criminal defense attorneys and 19 civil attorneys – but NO prosecuting attorneys.
  • “Regarding Judge Karolyn Moore reappointment to County Judge in Boulder. I was a juror on a case where she was the judge. My observation was she was fair, impartial and did not lead the jurors on in way or another. When the trial was over, she came and spoke to all the jurors to answer questions, give her us additional information. She moved things along, though she didn’t rush and crated a non threatening atmosphere. I will vote yes on her retention.”

Boulder County Judge : Honorable Norma A. Sierra
Comments: 

  • “I would also like to encourage voters not to vote to retain Boulder County Judge Norma Sierra. While Judge Sierra is friendly outside of the courtroom, her bias toward the prosecution is extremely evident in the courtroom. I have observed her in court numerous times. In one case where the defense attorney moved to have a charge of “assault with a deadly weapon — hands” dropped as the Supreme Court ruled that unless an individual is a martial artist, hands aren’t deadly weapons, Judge Sierra stated, “Well, I rule that hands are a deadly weapon and the charge will remain.” It is troubling when a judge doesn’t believe that she should have to abide by Supreme Court rulings whether she agrees with them or not.”
  • “While citizens want safer communities, their safety isn’t secured by the conviction of innocent people, nor are our communities safer when at any time we can also become the victims of being wrongfully accused of a crime and convicted in courtrooms where judges allow their bias in favor of the prosecution to cause a defendant not to receive a fair trial. This judge, based on what I’ve observed, has very little interest in carrying out her duties in a fair and impartial manner, and therefore, should not be retained.”

TWENTY-FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Mesa County)

District Judge : Honorable David A. Bottger
District Judge : Honorable Thomas Michael Deister
District Judge : Honorable Brian J. Flynn

Mesa County Judge : Honorable Bruce R. Raaum

TWENTY-SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Dolores, Montezuma Counties)

No district court judges standing for retention.
No Dolores county court judges standing for retention.
Montezuma County Judge : Honorable JenniLynn Everett Lawrence

28 Responses to Know Your Judge: Citizen Input on District/County Judges 2014

  • Christine says:

    Judge Randall C. Arp, 1st Judicial District Judge Division: 9 is up for retention this year. Judge Arp seems to not believe in nor understand child abuse. He announced at the beginning of our divorce /custody hearing that the attorneys could not discuss the case of child abuse against my ex-husband. The Human Services investigation of the child abuse determined it was a “founded” case of abuse. This was a significant case of child abuse in which my ex-husband told our son that he should drown him and held his head under water. He punched our then 11 year old son in the stomach, yanked him out of the pool by his arm leaving bruises and pushed him against the side of the pool causing abrasions on his back. In his divorce decree Judge Arp awarded my ex-husband 50/50 custody and joint decision making authority for all 3 children stating that the incident was “concerning but did not rise to the level of child abuse.”

    Additionally, I found Judge Arp extremely gender biased against women. He would continuously tell my female attorney to wrap it up after a few minutes while letting my ex-husband’s male attorney go on for literally hours. He was certainly gender biased against me and did not hold my ex-husband to the same standards to which he held me. For instance Judge Arp accused me of being a poor communicator for not planning the birthday party my ex-husband held for our son at his house. However, he said my ex-husband was an “excellent communicator” for sending hostile emails to me and for refusing to speak to me for the entire year before court. Judge Arp said the angry emails were very clear in their meaning.

    Judge Arp refused to override HIPPA so our son’s therapist could testify then went on to berate the therapist and ask him questions which he was not allowed to answer without violating HIPPA. Judge Arp badgered the therapist and allowed my ex-husband’s attorney to do the same. Our son’s therapist told me that testifying in Judge Arp’s court was the most traumatic experience of his life and after court he called to say he no longer felt safe working with our son so was resigning from the case. Let me state that again. Judge Arp badgered a seasoned trauma therapist so severely and allowed his court to get out of hand so much that the therapist gave this as the reason he no longer felt safe working with our son.

    I know several other women who have had similar experiences with Judge Arp. Just in case you are wondering about the other side of the story; while I am not a perfect person or a perfect mother, I am a well-educated, law abiding professional and generally a pretty good mom. I have only ever had one speeding ticket. I have no substance abuse problems or major mental illnesses. I believe that I was discriminated against because I tried to protect our son from abuse. My son’s not wanting to seen his father was placed on the false assumption of me being a parental alienator rather than on the true reason which was his father’s abuse. What I have learned from my research is that the trend in the family courts is to split children 50/50 between parents regardless of the circumstances. Any parent not willing to split the children 50/50 with the other parent is considered a bad parent or a parental alienator regardless of the situation. Some abusive parents are being given full custody because the protective parent keeps the child from the abuser. This is a very disturbing trend and Judge Arp seems to me to be thoughtlessly riding this trend. Judge Arp was even angry during the hearing with our court appointed CFI because she felt my ex-husband should not have the children 50% of the time but should have a more limited parenting schedule.

    The well-researched physical and psychological risks for children who are living with child abuse and complex trauma are too great for judges to be thoughtless and uneducated on issues of child abuse and child trauma. Children deserve more than to have their judges, CFI’s and PRE’s buy into the poorly researched, ill-conceived and out of context concept that 50/50 custody is best for all children regardless of the circumstance. The theory of parental alienation is not accepted as valid by mainstream child and adolescent psychology (including the American Psychological Association) and psychiatry (including the American Psychiatric Association) and is banned in several countries’ family courts including the UK and Canada. So why are these counter intuitive and poorly researched theories considered believable by many United States’ family court judges and by many psychologists and social workers and who work in the family court systems?

    I apologize for the wordiness of this post. I believe the gravity and complexity of the situation lends itself to a bit more detail and education in order for the readers to make and informed decision.

    I also want to give a good word for Judge Stephen Munsinger (1st Judicial District Chief Judge Division11). I have testified in his court as an expert witness on many occasions. He is one of the most thoughtful, patient and fair judges with whom I have had the pleasure of working. He really cares about the people who present to his court.

  • Jeff Nuttall says:

    When we turned to the district court for protection, Charles Pratt demonstrated substantial discrimination against us as a pro-se party. He always found for the party represented by an attorney, even when its arguments were clearly wrong, illegal, even criminal. His decisions became so ridiculously unfair, that after the beginning, they would frequently contradict earlier decisions, yet still against the pro-se party. At one point when we asked that he provide justice as he is mandated by the Colorado Constitution, he claimed that it was not his job to provide justice, and hence would not. In the end, he violated Colorado’s prohibition against attorney fees, effectively taking our family’s home with an oppressive judgment, yet preventing us from be heard fairly in a trial. He acted as if we, law, and justice have no consideration whatsoever. Obviously, we are in the process of appealing his injustice. Colorado would be much better off without him causing people harm. His judgment was so incompetent and irrational, we believe that he was bribed to oppose us, as we can not come up with any other reasonable explanation.

  • Tracy Grodsky says:

    regarding Judge Karolyn Moore reappointment to County Judge in Boulder. I was a juror on a case where she was the judge. My observation was she was fair, impartial and did not lead the jurors on in way or another. When the trial was over, she came and spoke to all the jurors to answer questions, give her us additional information. She moved things along, though she didn’t rush and crated a non threatening atmosphere. I will vote yes on her retention.

  • Lynn Robinson says:

    I urge voters to vote not to retain Judge Andrew Ross Macdonald. I was an observer in a felony criminal trial that Judge Macdonald was presiding over and his bias toward the prosecution was outrageous. He was rude and dismissive toward the defense attorney and was overruling defense objections before the defense attorney finished relating what he was objecting to. The Judge allowed hearsay evidence to be admitted into the court record and read to the jury, he allowed a relative of the alleged victim to talk with potential jurors on court breaks (possible jury tampering), allowed text messages and emails written by the defendant to be read to the jury in their entirety, while allowing text messages and emails written by the alleged victim to be redacted to avoid “hurting the feelings of a juror” who was a member of the ethnic group the alleged victim was maligning, he allowed the prosecution to allege two additional crimes that were unsupported by forensic evidence and for which another perpetrator (not known or involved with the defendant) was named as being the suspect to be presented in court, allowed evidence that had been ruled out as having been written by the defendant to be presented to the jury, and when the defense attorney requested the judge declare a mistrial over hearsay evidence and the admission of two police reports that did not pertain to the defendant, the judge said that he would rule on a mistrial at the end of the trial (and he didn’t rule on the issue at the end of trial, nor did he address why he wasn’t ruling on same). Judge Macdonald ruled that a relative of the defendant could be barred from attending the trial, while allowing anyone on the alleged victim’s side to be in attendance. The jury voted to convict the defendant and stated that they didn’t believe the alleged victim was being truthful, but that there “had to be something behind the charges.” When it came time for sentencing, Judge Macdonald gave the defendant (a college student) and outrageously long sentence (and one for which it is doubtful that the defendant will ever be released from prison) for a crime where physical or mental injury to the alleged victim was minimal to non-existent. (It should be noted that this is the same judge that gave a defendant accused of two forcible rapes a bond of $7500 for which the defendant skipped jurisdiction after release.) The deputy DA addressed the issue of motions to amend and change contents of discovery immediately at the conclusion of the trial and sentencing, stating that “this case will undoubtedly go to appeal.” Unfortunately, the defendant will be in prison for years while the Appellate Court rules on the merits of his appeal. Judge Macdonald either has a very limited knowledge of criminal law and jurisprudence, or he has very little interest in insuring that defendants have fair trials presided over by impartial judges.

    I would also like to encourage voters not to vote to retain Boulder County Judge Norma Sierra. While Judge Sierra is friendly outside of the courtroom, her bias toward the prosecution is extremely evident in the courtroom. I have observed her in court numerous times. In one case where the defense attorney moved to have a charge of “assault with a deadly weapon — hands” dropped as the Supreme Court ruled that unless an individual is a martial artist, hands aren’t deadly weapons, Judge Sierra stated, “Well, I rule that hands are a deadly weapon and the charge will remain.” It is troubling when a judge doesn’t believe that she should have to abide by Supreme Court rulings whether she agrees with them or not. She revoked the bond of an individual on the basis of an allegation that he had contacted an alleged victim by note, despite the fact that the note had not been proven to have been written by the defendant (and eventually it was proven that the defendant had not written the note), again stated that she was ruling that he did write the note when the defense attorney objected to bond revocation as there was compelling evidence that the defendant did not write the note (which was non-threatening in nature, and evidence being that the defendant was with a police officer in another jurisdiction as a witness to a hit and run at approximately the same time the alleged victim reported having seen a male put the note on her car windshield) and set a bond of $225,000 based upon request of the alleged victim’s family. The defense attorney stated that he had never seen such a high bond set in the jurisdiction, including when the charges were various degrees of homicide, and the defendant was unable to make bond, remaining in jail for over a year until trial because of her having revoked his bond before the note had been forensically tested.

    While citizens want safer communities, their safety isn’t secured by the conviction of innocent people, nor are our communities safer when at any time we can also become the victims of being wrongfully accused of a crime and convicted in courtrooms where judges allow their bias in favor of the prosecution to cause a defendant not to receive a fair trial. These two judges, based on what I’ve observed, have very little interest in carrying out their duties in a fair and impartial manner, and therefore, should not be retained.

  • rather not say says:

    8th JD Court Judge Thomas French

    French blatantly violated statute by declining jurisdiction in my contest of the jail tax ballot title. The statute is very clear, setting a date for a hearing was only possible if he had determined that he had jurisdiction. A court that has jurisdiction has exclusive jurisdiction (no appeal). He was not required to take jurisdiction unless he had determined that the surety bond was sufficient, but he did take jurisdiction.

    It is not complicated. He violated the statute.

    I was actually very surprised that he set a hearing. I was expecting him not to. We all showed up for the hearing only to have French decline jurisdiction in a matter he had acquired jurisdiction for.

    Additionally, the Supreme Court has already ruled that election contests subject that are required to be “summarily adjudicated” are to be settled with a priority for obtaining judgement over the any procedural objections. Ironically, that case law originated in Larimer County of all places.

  • Kim says:

    Ann Gail Meinster should be retained in the First Judicial District. Several years ago, before she was appointed as a justice, Gail was my daughter’s assigned rep/counsel in the criminal case prosecuted against her father who’d abused her. Ms. Meinster truly has a heart for children and we need more justices like her to help protect our children from the many predators out there–both strangers and the ones whom are in a position of trust (the worst kind, in my view). I was impressed with her integrity, calm demeanor, and warm concern.

  • Al Moncrief says:

    THE COLORADO SUPREME COURT . . . “POLITICIANS IN BLACK ROBES.” (AS IT TURNS OUT.)

    For decades I refused to believe it, but it is now incontrovertibly established. The Colorado Supreme Court is indisputably a political actor. Our Colorado Supreme Court exists to serve Colorado political parties. At present, the Colorado Supreme Court is more rightly considered an adjunct of the Colorado Legislative Branch, than a check on the Colorado Legislative Branch. Rather than “truth-seeking,” the Colorado Supreme Court now sees its role as “political-outcome seeking.” Litigants successfully use the Colorado Supreme Court to achieve political purposes. In the Ralph Carr Justice Center, rather than meeting impartial guardians of the law, litigants meet their political allies on the bench.

    “I think there are many who think of judges as politicians in robes. In many states, that’s what they are.” “They seem to think judges should be a reflex of the popular will.”

    Sandra Day O’Connor

    In this article, I provide an example of the political and partisan role of the Colorado Supreme Court. I describe a case in which the Colorado Supreme Court summarily erases billions of dollars of debt owed by Colorado state and local governments. That is, one branch of Colorado state government relieves another branch of Colorado government of its legal debts. The case involves Colorado statutory contracts that create financial obligations on the part of Colorado governments. Over decades, political considerations induced the Colorado Legislature to mismanage those financial obligations. In recent years, the terms of those statutory contracts were deemed politically inconvenient and politically unpopular. The Legislative Branch asked the Colorado Supreme Court to discard the contracts.

    In 2010, the Colorado Legislative Branch requested that the Colorado Supreme Court grant this political favor by ignoring the Contract Clause of the US Constitution, ignoring the history of legislative mismanagement of these state financial obligations, and relieving Colorado governments of their accrued legal debts. In this article, I address the Colorado Supreme Court’s lack of independence, integrity, and impartiality. I provide a brief history of the efforts of the Colorado Legislature and the Colorado Supreme Court to escape Colorado governmental financial obligations. I comment on the recent (October, 2014) Colorado Supreme Court Decision itself, which summarily erased these billions of dollars of Colorado public sector debt. I highlight some of the numerous factual and logical errors that exist in the Colorado Supreme Court’s Decision in the case. I express incredulity at the Colorado Supreme Court’s willful ignorance of public pension administration, knowledge that was necessary to any court claiming to “seek truth” in the case.

    My intent in writing this article is to enhance the public record of, and further document, what I consider to be one of the greatest “crimes” in Colorado history.

    Visit the following link for the complete article:

    http://coloradopols.com/diary/64487/the-colorado-supreme-court-politicians-in-black-robes-as-it-turns-out

  • A. Parent says:

    I have watched Judy LaBuda snear at those whom she is swearing in at the witness stand. LaBuda will write cut-throat orders with an air of sarcasm, adding insult to injury while she harms an innocent party. It is apparent that she will take sides on cases with whom she has a personal relationship. The fact that she had an affair with her intern shows she has no boundaries. She does not look at new evidence. She does not deserve the words “honorable” next to her name. She is an insult to Boulder County.

  • Loretta rieniets says:

    In my opinion Judge Wheeler should NOT be a family court judge!! He does NOT protect children from drug and alcohol abusing parents!! Rather, he appears to favor PUTTING CHILDREN at risk by immediately awarding UNSUPERVISED visits, animals are MORE protected than women & children!! Please get him out of this division! He strikes me as being a bitter, divorced person who is going to make innocent women & children who cross his path pay, BIG TIME!! I feel that he is very dangerous to abused women & children and takes great pleasure in ruling against protecting them, rather he loves to victimize them all over again! Can he be held responsible for his rulings when he seems to deliberately put children & women at risk?

  • bob says:

    judge bottger court is corrupt, he allowe”s the da to do and say what ever he wants! the public defender office is a joke!lacking any back bone or will to really help its defendent”s. sergio lema should be disbared for his action”s as a attorney suppose to be helping people, he let”s the da make all the call”s and excepts any thing they throw at him, even if you have evidence that show”s otherwise,judge botter let”s all this take place in his court. handing down sentence” to in inocente people. solely on the da evidence,my opion is no one get”s a just and fair trial in judge bottger court room, its a mocker:y to the justic system!!!!

  • Bryanna says:

    That scares me, I am dealing with the same thing and go to court in two weeks. Wheeler is my judge!

  • Shocked says:

    Andrew McDonald shoots from the hip; listens to hearsay and ignores what is right for the children. Asked for CFI and was ignored. Child support was miscalculated even with the courts figures outlined. Bring on the clowns.

  • Elizabeth Lovato says:

    I am very disgusted that Probate Judge Elizabeth D. Leith acted like I was a criminal, Everyone in the court knew that John could not hear and kept turning down his hearing device. I was chastised and She was so insistent that John should be in a nursing home. I was drained by the time we left that court house. Instead of being helpful they made it so hard. She allowed Marcie McMinimee run the court room. I thought that they would help a senior citizen not help themselves. Marcie hung on for a whole year to get herself paid. She cured John’s mortgage but paid herself $5,380.53 for that service. She didn’t do anything else. The Judge awarded it to her. They were concerned that John’s money would not last 5 years but here they were taking what they wanted first.

  • Noni Maus says:

    I disagree with the decision to retain Judge Lobato. I was in court for a misdemeanor, and after my lawyer and I had worked out a deal with the DA, Judge Lobato tacked on No Possession of a Firearm and No Alcohol for for the length of my probation. Since my complaint had to do with my pet and nothing else. It was ridiculous. When I told people the judgment, they would laugh and ask, “Well, Was your dog drinking?”

    When Judge Lobato come up for re-election, VOTE NO.

  • evett says:

    the mesa county court is corrupt!! the D.A.files charges that the police make up,and they know there false. but all they want is to get there conviction.they dont care if the person is inocent! and the public defenders are the worse. they just tell people take the plea so if you dont have a paied attorney. your going to jail the fruita police are the worse for false reports,and plating evidence. but they keep doing it!!and D.A. keeps conviceting

  • patricia says:

    Judge flynn is very bias to the DA’s side and expresses his opion without knowing the complete facts openly during sentencing. During our trial, judge flynn allowed motions in thru the DA that were blocked during proceeding.the DA Brian f. Misrepresented evidence purposely knowingly twisted facts and willingly broke the law by bringing in motions that were voted by proceeding that were not allowed during trial. The investigator Norris deliberately did not report a crime admitted by a individual to another jurisdiction and ignored testimonies by this individual miss leading her stories committing perjury upon her self. Mesa county’s judicial system is set up for criminals to get away with committing crimes repeatedly and to put fear into the innocent to plead out. Colorado unlike any other state does not fallow the law to a tee instead they have created loop holes in the system to charge innocent individuals without really needing any facts or evidence just an allegations from an individual.

  • Anonymous says:

    Arp was a horrible judge. He is very biased against women which my lawyer informed me of. He wouldn’t listen to the facts, he put my children in a custody situation that has now affected their mental health.

  • Anonymous says:

    Arp needs to be removed ASAP!! We cannot continue to have a judge who is biased to one side and has no care in the world for best interest of the kids. He is not a reasonable person at all! He is a joke!!

  • Outraged says:

    Judge Macdonald loves hearsay and mistakes facts; both my ex and I think he has done more damage to our family in a year than the previous 5 years combined. He should not be doing family law and ignores drs

  • sam.sch says:

    DO NOT RETAIN Honorable Andrew Ross Macdonald.

    1. He does not pay attention to the proceedings and will just follow what the other judges have put forward.
    2. My friend lost custody of her children for protesting – asking for transparent judges and as a result lost her children
    3. why does he allow adversaries to laugh in court
    4. bias against women

    Clearly their is a role that judges play to honor the other judges opinions

  • Jami says:

    This Judge hates fathers; awful awful awful.

    A farther who has 70% custody of his children, part of the the girl scouts, their mother abandoned both children. The mother who I know very well lies and lies and he listens to her; the father is completely destroyed leaving 6 children. The mother (Jennifer) only cares about money.

    I have lost all faith in the legal system in this country after seeing watching a great father be bullied and kicked to the curb by this judge. The father has always been there for the children, I know I helped pick up the pieces after they mother left.

    He is a complete disgrace to the legal system. This man leave now a father in tatters, heartbroken and 2 children on the verge of suicide.

  • Jami says:

    Judge MacDonald hates fathers; awful awful awful.

    A farther who has 70% custody of his children, part of the the girl scouts, their mother abandoned both children. The mother who I know very well lies and lies and he listens to her; the father is completely destroyed leaving 6 children. The mother (Jennifer) only cares about money.

    I have lost all faith in the legal system in this country after seeing watching a great father be bullied and kicked to the curb by this judge. The father has always been there for the children, I know I helped pick up the pieces after they mother left.

    He is a complete disgrace to the legal system. This man leave now a father in tatters, heartbroken and 2 children on the verge of suicide.

    I have never left a review on amazon let alone to do this but please remove this judge; he has destroyed one of the best fathers I have ever met.

  • Dee Malik-Bey says:

    Court Officer Bain is a prejudiced Trump wanna-be. He does not listen to facts in the cases he presides over and he does not uphold the constitutional rights of those who have to appear before him. He was presented with Supreme Court cases and laws pertinent to the “case” of my husband. Bain got upset and now currently has him on a “No-Bond for a STATUS CONFERENCE” so we can’t bail him out. We just found out that there is currently NO FUNDING for Status Conferences anymore (my husband was detained for traffic infractions and has been kidnapped for 26 days now….over TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS which are not even arrestable offenses) We will be filing a civil suit.

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