Commission: Vote to retain Lynch |

Commission: Vote to retain Lynch

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado ” A judicial performance commission unanimously recommends that voters retain 9th Judicial District Judge Denise Lynch.

“The commission was unanimously impressed by Judge Lynch, who is performing at a level equal, and in some respects better, than more experienced district court judges,” part of the commission’s recommendation says.

About 96 percent of attorneys and 92 percent of non-attorneys surveyed by the commission recommended that Lynch be retained. Voters have the option of voting whether Lynch should be retained on this fall’s ballot.

The commission’s report said Lynch’s strengths include diligence, timeliness and a commitment to “judicial excellence.”

“With a heavier criminal docket than some of the other district court judges and no prior criminal law experience, Judge Lynch has proven herself a quick study and has effectively managed a large number of criminal cases along with a separate track for drug offenders,” the commission said. “In civil matters, Judge Lynch has demonstrated similar acuity and adeptness, including attentive case management and prompt rulings on pending motions, usually within sixty days.”

Lynch was appointed to replace Chief District Judge T. Peter Craven after his death in 2006. Lynch got her law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, graduating in the top of her class with a summa cum laude honor. Prior to taking the bench in 9th Judicial District Court, Lynch worked as an assistant county attorney for Garfield County for five years and as a civil litigator in Denver for almost 20 years.

Lynch also presides over the district’s drug court ” a program aimed at helping people overcome addictions linked to criminal behavior ” and she serves on the Garfield County Methamphetamine Task Force. The 9th Judicial District covers Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties.

Looking for weaknesses, the commission said that in surveys of attorneys, Lynch scored slightly lower than other judges in her overall application and knowledge of law, and a small percentage of survey respondents said they were concerned regarding a bias toward the prosecution, criminal sentencing consistency, judicial demeanor and prompt rulings. The commission said those things may be due to her newness on the bench and an increasing criminal case load.

“The commission was impressed by Judge Lynch’s careful consideration of the survey responses and her concrete plans for self-improvement,” the commission said.

The 2008 survey for the state’s judicial performance commissions was conducted by Talmey-Drake Research and Strategy, Inc., who contacted over 12,400 people who had been in the courtrooms of the over 100 Colorado judges up for retention this year. Every one of them received a recommendation for retention except for Jefferson County Judge Judy Archuleta.

The commissions also evaluated case statistics, conducted courtroom observations and personal interviews with judges. Visit to view the complete judicial performance report.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

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