The Judicial Performance Commission for the Fifth Judicial District (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, and Summit Counties) has evaluated the performance of the four judges standing for retention in the November 6, 2012 election: Clear Creek County Judge Rachel J. Olguin-Fresquez, Eagle County Judge Katharine T. Sullivan, Lake County Judge Wayne Patton, and Summit County Judge Edward Jude Casias.
Colorado citizens have the opportunity to review important information from the commission about the performance of the judges. With the information, voters can read down to the end of their ballot to the judges section and cast informed votes in the November election.
The role of the non-partisan commission is to present fair, responsible, and constructive information to the citizens in order to cast informed votes in the November election. The results of the evaluations also provide judges with information that can be used to improve their professional skills. Politics does not play a role. The judicial performance process evaluates the overall performance of judges over a period of time on established criteria, and not agreement or disagreement with any particular decision.
There is a judicial performance commission in each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts and one state commission. The District Commissions evaluate the county and district judges in their respective districts. The State Commission evaluates the court of appeals judges and the Supreme Court justices.
The volunteer members are appointed by the Colorado Chief Justice, Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House. Each commission consists of 10 members: six non-attorneys and four attorneys. The members of the Fifth Judicial District Performance Commission are: Arleen Sandberg, Chair, Catherine Cheroutes, Vice-Chair, Betty Benson, Public Information Liaison, Terri Diem, Amy Jackson, Bill Macy, Monica McElyea, Carl Miller, Nancy Schmidt, and Kristine Word.
The commission evaluated the judges on a wide range of criteria, including integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, and administrative performance. To do this, the commission reviewed information from several sources including, written decisions, individual caseload statistics, courtroom observations, a self-evaluation completed by each judge; and the results of surveys. Earlier this year, surveys were sent to people who have had recent involvement with the judges, including prosecutors, public defenders, and private attorneys, litigants, jurors, crime victims, law enforcement officers, court employees, court interpreters, and probation officers. In addition, interim survey results from past years are reviewed.
The commissions then produce a narrative for each judge, with a recommendation stated as “retain” or “do not retain,” and if the vote is spit, “no opinion.” The commission may also recommend that improvements for the judge be reflected in a performance plan.
Also on the ballot are the following appellate judges who were evaluated by the State Commission on Judicial Performance: Supreme Court Justice Nathan B. Coats, and Court of Appeals Judges Laurie A. Booras, James S. Casebolt, Dennis A. Graham, Gale T. Miller, Daniel Marc Taubman, and John R. Webb.
The narrative, recommendation, and complete statistical survey results of all the judges on the ballot are available on the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation website at www.coloradojudicialperformance.gov. The website also contains information about Colorado’s judicial performance evaluation program and process.