Commission recommends judge's retention

Shelley A. Hill receives above-average marks

— The 14th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance - a 10-member panel - unanimously recommended a district court judge for retention in November.

Judge Shelley A. Hill, who took the bench in July 2006, received above-average marks from attorneys and non-attorneys polled on her performance, according to evaluations released statewide Tuesday afternoon.

The panel consisted of residents and attorneys from Moffat, Routt and Grand counties, each section of the tri-county judicial district.

The commission also reviewed various opinions Hill wrote.

"Her opinions appeared to be generally well-reasoned, clearly written and adhered closely to the law," according to the performance review. "Further, the commission was impressed with the overall survey results."

Hill said she was pleased with the commission's findings.

"The retention process is a marvelous process we go through, and I think the commission was thorough and fair," she said.

Terry Carwile, a Craig City Council member and the Sportsman's Information Specialist at the Moffat County Visitor Center, served on the commission as its public information liaison. He said the commission found Judge Hill to be "very competent and interested in improving her courtroom skills."

"It looks like she's doing a real fine job," Carwile said.

Hill, who has approximately 26 years of legal experience, was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1999. She primarily handles district court cases in Moffat and Routt counties and periodically in Grand County.

Attorneys surveyed about Hill's performance rated her above average in case management, application and knowledge of the law, communications, demeanor and diligence. Non-attorneys rated her above average in demeanor, fairness, communications, diligence and application of the law.

Under a weaknesses category of the review, the commission "noted that Judge Hill is working to improve her knowledge of substantive law."

Overall, 95 percent of attorneys and 84 percent of non-attorneys supported Hill's retention, according to the findings.

The State Commission on Judicial Performance and local judicial district commissions evaluated more than 100 Colorado justices and judges.

The commissions then produce recommendations and supporting narratives for each judge and include the findings in the "Blue Book" published by the Legislative Council and mailed to every registered voter in the state.

"Colorado's judicial performance process tries to strike an extremely difficult balance by making judges accountable to the public without becoming involved in politics," said Paul Farley, chairman of the State Commission on Judicial Performance, in a news release. "It is important that citizens take the time to review the information the commissions have provided and cast informed votes on Election Day."

Hill, who has served an initial two-year provisional term on the bench, is up for a six-year term in November. She said the past two years and the prospect of six more are exciting.

"It's been an exciting and enlightening two years," she said. "I'm absolutely looking forward to (an additional term)."

Evan Herman, 14th Judicial District administrator, said voters would be wise to retain Hill in November.

"She really deserves it," Herman said. "She's smart, conscientious. : I hope she's retained, and I look forward to continuing working with her."

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