Know Your Judge: Citizen Input on District/County Judges 2016
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 2016 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 94 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 Dennis J. Hall
District Judge : Honorable Philip James McNulty
District Judge : Honorable Jeffrey Ralph Pilkington
District Judge : Honorable Todd L. Vriesman
Jefferson County Judge : Honorable Bradley Allen Burback
Jefferson County Judge : Honorable Verna L. Carpenter
Jefferson County Judge : Honorable Tammy Greene
- “Judge Tamme Green in Jeffco is an activist judge who makes up law and then gives excuses for her bad decisions. Typically unprepared and disorganized, this judge must not be retained. Vote no.”
- “A few years ago, I appeared before her in a debt collection case. I appeared without an attorney, and argued that based on the original contract, as well as the statutes of limitations and conflict-of-laws statutes in Colorado, Delaware, and Illinois, the debt was time-barred and the collector couldn’t collect.The judge found my opponent’s arguments more persuasive, but in her written opinion, she gave detailed reasons supporting her decision. She treated me respectfully and in an unbiased fashion throughout the case, and even though things didn’t go my way, I believe she should be retained.”
- “Just before I retired our company was sued by a claimant’s insurance company. The Claimant claimed facts that any rational person would see overcame the laws of physics. Judge Tamme Greene presided over this case. She felt that despite the facts presented by our accident reconstructionist in pre-trial hearings that this claim was bogus, she allowed it to go to trial by six Jeffco residents. It took the jury 45 minutes to find our company not guilty. Judge Greene cost both the plaintiff’s insurance company and our company thousands of dollars, a pure lose-lose situation, when she could have done a simple analysis to conclude dismissal of the plaintiff’s case was appropriate. Judge Greene displayed very poor judgement in this case and appeared to our company and our attorneys as definitely pro-plaintiff. I recommend a no vote on her retention.”
- Jefferson County Judge Greene oversaw a case in which I was being sued for damages to a rental property I had lived in for 3 weeks. I will not criticize her for ruling against me, and in fact, she went out of her way to chide the plaintiff for trying to “double-dip” and get paid twice for the same issue, lowering my damages. However, I will criticize her for failing basic legal principles that even I, a non-lawyer, understand; despite my asserting I owed no damages beyond 1 week of missed rent, which I agreed to pay directly to the plaintiff’s lawyer before going before the judge, she informed me that I was already assumed responsible for damages and the only question was how much. I’m not kidding; when I began to question the property manager on the exact nature of the damages I allegedly caused, she stopped me to inform me that “we” already established that I owed damages and I could only argue to reduce them. There was no previous hearing, or arbitration, or mediation, or anything whatsoever, and the court has already decided, before I said three words, that I am guilty of damage that was never shown to even exist? How am I supposed to argue to lower the carpet cleaning bill if I can’t argue that the carpet (which was brand new before I moved in for, again, literally 3 weeks) wasn’t even in need of cleaning? I’m not sure to this day what this woman thought, but she would not permit me, ever, to dispute the charges against me. I quite literally never “got my day in court”, I just had to sit down while she hashed things out with the lawyer. She was nice about it, but I can’t recommend retaining a judge who won’t even let me talk or take 30 seconds to explain what I had done wrong and why I was already losing.
Jefferson County Judge : Honorable K. J. Moore
- “I voted no on all the judges except for KJ Moore in Jeffco. She is so great with kids and understands disabilities better than any judge I’ve ever seen in all my years of advocacy.”
SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Denver County)
Recent article (“How to Fight Denver City Hall“) critiques Denver District and County Court judges
(Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle, November 2016)
District Judge : Honorable Michael A. Martinez
Comments: 2nd Judicial District Chief Judge
- For a list of articles concerning rulings by Denver District Judge Michael Martinez, click here:
- “Judge Michael A. Martinez of the 2nd Judicial District voted down school choice in Jefferson County TWICE. Do not retain.”
- “Amazed that I have yet to see the spanking that David Lane gave 2nd District Chief Judge Michael Martinez. Martinez permanently ordered the plaza outside of the Lindsey-Flanagan Courthouse and a no speech and no assembly zone. This even violated the Supreme Court’s rules that state that Chief Judge can make no orders outside of the building let alone the First Amendment.
This happened in August of 2015 at an injunction hearing in U.S. 10th District Court. Due to the fact that Mitch Morrissey and the Denver Police Dept. violated the Federal judge’s order to allow free speech, there will be a full trial in April. Hopefully it will include the failure of the Commission on Judicial Discipline.
Michael Martinez needs to be voted out. How did such a public spanking in violation of law get unnoticed?”
District Judge : Honorable Karen L. Brody
District Judge : Honorable Edward David Bronfin
- “Judge Edward David Bronfin Let a violent criminal out after only 4 months, who then committed murder” http://denver.cbslocal.com/2011/02/16/denver-judge-violent-criminal-suspect-murder/
- “In handling my civil case, I found Judge Bronfin to be fair, thorough, and respectful. I would vote to retain.”
District Judge : Honorable Ross B. H. Buchanan
- Judge Ross Buchanan seems to be taking a hard stance against marijuana
District Judge : Honorable Kandace C. Gerdes
District Judge : Honorable Andy McCallin
- “Judge Andy McCallin, 2nd District Court: Failed to find that Planned Parenthood was using State Dollars for Abortions.”http://www.westword.com/news/planned-parenthood-judge-dismisses-lawsuit-alleging-state-dollars-used-for-abortions-5861276
District Judge : Honorable William D. Robbins
- “Judge William D. Robbins 2nd District Court: Life in Jail and not the death sentence for murdering and chopping up a 16 year old girl”http://denver.cbslocal.com/2013/03/19/judge-sentences-edward-romero-to-life-in-prison/
District Judge : Honorable Brian Whitney
- “Denver District Judge Brian Whitney today ruled against Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, saying Denver County may send ballots to inactive voters. Gessler had asked for a preliminary injunction to stop the mailing. I would not retain this man.” http://www.coloradoindependent.com/101974/judge-rules-against-gessler
District Juvenile Judge : Honorable D. Brett Woods
- “Judge Brett Woods ruled that a child’s aunt and uncle have more parental rights than a biological father.” https://nationalparentsorganization.org/blog/22321-colorado-case-to-decide-rights-of-psychological-parents-vs-bio-dad
District Juvenile Judge : Honorable Laurie A. Clark
District Juvenile Judge : Honorable Donna J. Schmalberger
- Judge Donna Schmalberger wanted to throw out a confession by a minor in a sexual assault case because parent’s must be present during questioning, but the parent signed a waiver of Miranda rights and chose not to be present. http://www.denverpost.com/2016/10/25/colorado-supreme-court-overturns-juvenile-judge-self-incrimination-case/
- “Judge Burd is very competent, reasonable, and respectful to all parties. Vote to Retain.”
Denver County Judge : Honorable John M. Marcucci
Denver County Judge : Honorable Beth A. Faragher
- “From a courtroom insight review: Beth Faragher, 2nd District Courthttps://blog.courtroominsight.com/2013/06/28/new-reviews-of-two-poorly-rated-state-judges/She seemed to get lost in detail and spent time debating the award of damages for an item not even included in the lawsuit (bath tile.)I don’t know what motivates this judge but it isn’t the pursuit of justice. I walked out of her courtroom feeling as though I was escaping the Land of Oz.”
Denver County Judge : Honorable Gary M. Jackson
Denver County Judge : Honorable Nicole M. Rodarte
Denver County Judge : Honorable Andre L. Rudolph
- “Judge Rudolph believes that a defendant that turns his house into a marijuana growing operation while his 3 kids are living in it isn’t felony child abuse.”
Denver County Judge : Honorable Theresa A. Spahn
- ”Judge Spahn is just another politician on the bench. A self-described “activist” she returned to being a judge only after a failed run for Denver mayor, and still puts party first.“It took about one meeting to realize that socially, I’m a Democrat,” she said.Denver doesn’t need more activists in judge’s robes.Do Not Retain.”http://www.denverpost.com/2011/04/05/denver-mayoral-candidate-profile-theresa-spahn-counts-on-varied-past-to-set-her-apart-in-race-to-be-mayor/
THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Huerfano, Las Animas Counties)
District Judge : Honorable Leslie J. Gerbracht
No county court judges standing for retention in Huerfano and Las Animas Counties.
FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (El Paso, Teller Counties)
District Judge : Honorable Gilbert Anthony Martinez
Comments: (Chief Judge of District)
District Judge : Honorable Robin Lynn Chittum
District Judge : Honorable David A. Gilbert
District Judge : Honorable Deborah J. Grohs
- “In my opinion Deborah J. Grohs, El Paso County, is a horrible prejudicial judge. She discriminated against single Mother who is a disabled veteran. She allows psych evals of minor children entered as fact even though the evaluator purposely didn’t interview the mother and was hidden from the mother until the court date. She stated, without any factual documentation, that she feels the mother has a severe mental illness. Her decisions on custody were based on lies and perjury from the father and his lawyer. Her decision to give full custody to the father who has a founded DHS child abuse case and went to court for it is outrageous. In my opinion, since she can’t tell the truth from a lie and believes children are better off with an abusive parent instead of the parent trying to protect them from the abuser she should not be a judge and should be removed. She ruined 3 lives by doing this.”
District Judge : Honorable G. David Miller
Judge David Miller, in Colorado Springs, El Paso County acted in a non-professional manner that had a devastating impact on my life in 2013 and prior years. What did he do?
***Canceled a trial by jury within weeks of the trial, with no new evidence, based on his personal vacation experience (per his words)
*** Failed to consider Colorado Supreme Court law decisions that applied in the case, that he had previously recognized
*** Sided with a national bank in all aspects of his decision
***Awarded the national bank all their legal fees, resulting in a loss of my legal representation, due to a change in financial status
***Had resultant impact of no financial means to pursue an appeal
***This case had a personal outcome of : emotional strain loss,impacting personal and business life
- loss of primary residence
- loss of construction residence with land
- loss of lifetime retirement funds that were invested in the construction project
- loss of ability to complete a non-profit to benefit the homeless
- prevented me from paying my legal fees associated with this case
- prevented me from being able to financially assist my two sons in college.
My recommendation: DO NOT RETAIN David Miller in 2016 election
District Judge : Honorable Marla Prudek
No county court judges standing for retention in Teller County.
FIFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, Summit Counties)
Clear Creek County Judge: Honorable Rachel J. Olguin-Fresquez
Eagle County Judge: Honorable Katharine T. Sullivan
Lake County Judge: Honorable Jonathan Shamis
Summit County Judge: Honorable Edward Jude Casias
SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Archuleta, La Plata, San Juan Counties)
District Judge: Honorable William L. Herringer
District Judge: Honorable Jeffrey Raymond Wilson
San Juan County Judge: Honorable Anthony Douglas Edwards
No county court judges standing for retention in Archuleta and La Plata Counties.
SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel Counties)
No district court judges standing for retention.
Delta County Judge: Honorable Sandra K. Miller
Hinsdale County Judge: Honorable Alvin K. Lutz
No county court judges standing for retention in Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel Counties.
EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Jackson, Larimer Counties)
District Judge : Honorable Caroll Michelle Brinegar
- “Judge Caroll Michelle Brineger has no idea what she’s doing. She allows attorneys to get away with frivolous delays and last minute submissions of information that should have come during discovery. She has no knowledge of HOA or Constitutional law. She is a fool and does nothing but make life worse for this community. DO NOT RETAIN.”
District Judge : Honorable Gregory M. Lammons
Larimer County Judge: Honorable Mary Joan Berenato
- “Presided over juvenile and family court cases as a magistrate. Consistently sided with child welfare services, though evidence to substantiate allegations was weak, inaccurate, incomplete, or outright false. Where are due process protections in family courts? Don’t these lawyers take an oath to uphold the Constitution? Certainly as judges they recognize their obligation and duty to ensure fair and just hearings.“I DON’T MAKE MISTAKES” – This quote to a parent whose daughter was allowed by the court and her GAL attorney to run away from a good home and work in a strip club as a minor. Shame on you Berenato – you aren’t as smart as you think you are.”
Larimer County Judge: Honorable Kraig Ecton
Larimer County Judge: Honorable Joshua B. Lehman
No county court judges standing for retention in Jackson County.
NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Garfield, Pitkin, Rio Blanco Counties)
District Judge : Honorable John Fowler Neiley
Rio Blanco County Judge : Honorable Laurie Noble
No county court judges standing for retention in Garfield and Pitkin Counties.
TENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Pueblo County)
District Judge: Honorable Thomas B. Flesher
District Judge: Honorable Jill S. Mattoon
District Judge: Honorable Larry Charles Schwartz
No county court judges standing for retention in Pueblo County.
ELEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Park Counties)
District Judge: Honorable Patrick William Murphy
District Judge: Honorable Stephen A. Groome
- “Steven Groome has consistently proven to be an incompetent judge. Do not retain. 4 years ago the voters of counties that are not impacted by this judge voted to retain. Park county, where Groome sits voted not to retain. Fremont and Chaffee….do not retain.”
Chaffee County Judge : Honorable William P. Alderton
No county court judges standing for retention in Custer, Fremont and Park Countie
TWELFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache Counties)
District Judge: Honorable Martin A. Gonzales
Mineral County Judge: Honorable Ruth M. Acheson
No county court judges standing for retention in Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Rio Grande and Saguache Counties.
THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Yuma Counties)
No district court judges standing for retention.
Logan County Judge: Honorable Ray Ann Brammer
Phillips County Judge: Honorable Kimbra Leigh Killin
Sedgwick County Judge: Honorable Tera Neugebauer
No county court judges standing for retention in Kit Carson, Morgan, Washington and Yuma Counties.
FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Grand, Moffat, Routt Counties)
District Judge: Honorable Mary C. Hoak
No county court judges standing for retention in Grand, Moffat and Routt Counties.
FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Prowers Counties)
District Judge: Honorable Stanley A. Brinkley
No county court judges standing for retention in Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Prowers Counties.
SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Bent, Crowley, Otero Counties)
District Judge: Honorable Mark A. MacDonnell
District Judge: Honorable Michael Andrew Schiferl
Comment: One of exceptionally few judges recommended for non-retention in Colorado.
Of 20 attorneys who completed the survey: 55% recommended retention, 40% non-retention, and 5% made no recommendation. The completed survey results reflect 33 non-attorney responses: 82% recommended retention, 9% non-retention, and 9% made no recommendation.
Judge Schiferl’s accessibility comes with a diminished sense of formality that appears, to many, to be a lack of professionalism. In this rural judicial district, Judge Schiferl often appears too familiar with the litigants in his division, blurring necessary boundaries and failing to maintain the appearance of neutrality.
His legal writing skills are poor and the Judge is sloppy in the formatting, flow, and grammar appearing in his written work.
Bent County Judge: Honorable Samuel Scott Vigil
No county court judges standing for retention in Crowley and Otero Counties.
SEVENTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Adams, Broomfield Counties)
District Judge : Honorable Patrick T. Murphy
Comment: 17th District Chief Judge
District Judge : Honorable Emily Elizabeth Anderson
District Judge : Honorable Katherine Delgado
District Judge : Honorable Thomas R. Ensor
District Judge : Honorable F. Michael Goodbee
District Judge : Honorable Jill-Ellyn Straus
Comments: Among the very few judges recommended for non-retention, and by an overwhelming 8-1 margin.
Of attorneys surveyed, 41% recommended to retain, 50% not to retain, and 9% expressed no opinion.
Judge Straus received below average evaluations in the areas of case management, application of the law, communications, demeanor, diligence, and bias.
However, Twenty-one Appellate Judges completed surveys, asking to rate Judge Straus’ overall performance as a judge. As compared to the average score of all District Court Judges in Colorado, Judge Straus was evaluated higher than the other judges.
Adams County Judge : Honorable Leroy D. Kirby
No county court judges standing for retention in Broomfield County.
EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, Lincoln Counties)
District Judge : Honorable Carlos Armando Samour Jr.
Comments: 18th Judicial District Chief Judge
District Judge: Honorable Natalie T. Chase
- Judge Chase received higher marks than the average from Colorado Appellate Court Judges.
- Trial on 9/30/2016 – sexual abuse on child aged 13 by youth pastorJudge wondered why the DA was pursuing a prison sentence.Per Denver Post (Former Arapahoe church youth pastor spared prison sentence for sexually assaulting 13-year-old girl):”Before the trial, the prosecutors, who work for District Attorney George Brauchler, had offered a plea agreement that would have led Hutchinson to be convicted of a misdemeanor with the potential to take his name off sex offender registries.“It’s going from one end to the other end. I mean complete opposite,” Chase said. “I’ve never seen it. It’s totally inconsistent and it doesn’t make sense.”The judge accused the DA’s office of trying to punish Hutchinson for exercising his right to a jury trial.”“Still, Chase said a prison sentence would be too much because it would ultimately be up to a parole board to decide when Hutchinson could be released even if she recommended four years behind bars. In Colorado, felony sex crimes carry indeterminate sentences, meaning a person could spend the rest of his life in prison if a parole board decided he had not been rehabilitated.Hutchinson only touched the child through her clothes, and Chase said she had never heard of a prison sentence for a sexual assault that did not involve touching genitals or rape.Chase laid out the findings of an evaluation conducted by experts to determine the level of Hutchinson’s sexual deviance. All of the results indicated he had a low risk of repeating the crime, would benefit from therapy and did not have a sexual interest in children.””After the hearing, Brauchler said Hutchinson abused his power as a religious leader when he exploited a vulnerable child. Hutchinson first denied he had done anything wrong, then he lied on the stand and attacked the credibility of a 13-year-old child. And Hutchinson was wrong to try to blame his actions on a school shooting that had happened two years earlier.For that, Hutchinson deserved prison, Brauchler said.”
District Judge : Honorable Jeffrey K. Holmes
District Judge: Honorable Frederick Thomas Martinez
District Judge: Honorable David John Stevens
District Judge: Honorable Elizabeth Ann Weishaupl
Arapahoe County Judge: Honorable Anne M. Ollada
- “Judge Ollada is a definite DO NOT RETAIN. She barely seems to comprehend the law, and is disrespectful to attorneys and parties. One wonders how she even made it through laws school much less made it to the bench. Vote NO.”
No county court judges standing for retention in Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties.
NINETEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Weld County)
District Judge: Honorable Warren Troy Hause
District Judge: Honorable Julie C. Hoskins
District Judge: Honorable Shannon D. Lyons
District Judge: Honorable Thomas J. Quammen
No county court judges standing for retention in Weld County.
TWENTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Boulder County)
District Judge : Honorable Andrew Hartman
District Judge : Honorable Bruce Langer
No county court judges standing for retention in Boulder County.
TWENTY-FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Mesa County)
TWENTY-SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT (Dolores, Montezuma Counties)
District Judge: Honorable Douglas S. Walker
Dolores County Judge: Honorable E. Dale Boyd
No county court judges standing for retention in Montezuma County.