Voters should educate themselves on judicial elections |

Voters should educate themselves on judicial elections

To the Editor:

In 1966, Colorado voters abolished partisan elections for judges, and established a merit selection system for the nomination, appointment and retention of judges and justices in the state court system. Under this system, merit is considered by examining factors such as legal training and background, judicial temperament, intellectual ability, neutrality, fairness, and capability for upholding the law.

Our judges represent our communities as well as reflect the priorities our communities have established. The role our judges play extend well beyond the bench itself. The foundation they provide gives the community stability, reassurance, a sense of security and a confidence that justice will be served.

Judicial Performance Commissions were created in 1988 by the Colorado General Assembly to provide voters with fair, responsible and constructive evaluations of trial judges seeking retention. The evaluations also provide judges with information that can be used to improve their professional skills.

The 14th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance is composed of six nonlawyers and four lawyers, with members from Moffat, Grand, and Routt counties.

Evaluations are based upon questionnaires completed by attorneys, jurors, litigants, court personnel, probation officers, caseworkers, crime victims, and law enforcement personnel. The evaluations also include relevant docket statistics; a personal interview with the judge; a self-evaluation completed by the judge; and information from other appropriate sources, such as court observations, public hearings and documentation received from interested parties.

The 14th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends the following:

Judge Joel S. Thompson DO NOT RETAIN

Judge Mary Lynne James RETAIN

Judge James H. Garrecht RETAIN

The results of our evaluations are available in the legislative service’s “Blue Book” mailed to voters and on the Web at and

The members of our commission encourage you to be an educated voter. Please take time to review the information available.

John R. Ponikvar

14th Judicial Performance Commission Member


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