Judges Boyd, Petre deserve retention, commission reports | PostIndependent.com

Judges Boyd, Petre deserve retention, commission reports

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Attorneys and nonattorneys alike have recommended that two local judges be retained in their positions by voters in the Ninth Judicial District.

Chief Judge James Boyd and District Judge Daniel Petre both won unanimous retention recommendations from the 2012 Commission on Judicial Performance for the district.

The two judges are up for retention or removal from office by the voters in the Nov. 6 general election.

The state’s judicial review process calls for county judges to stand for retention every four years, and district judges every six years. Appeals court judges go through the same process every eight years, and state supreme court justices every 10 years.

The commission recommended unanimously that Boyd be retained in his job, based on survey results that rated the judge “near or above the average score for district judges,” according to an online report.

Only in two areas – promptness of rulings and decisions – did Boyd score below average ratings, the report stated.

But the commission found that understaffing in the district due to budget cuts has forced local judges to manage 60 percent more cases than the number considered “a full case load.”

Plus, the commission cited a national study showing that Boyd’s appointment as chief judge of the Ninth District has piled on additional administrative duties, including the management of the 67 people employed by the district. Boyd also serves as the water judge for the district, which creates additional work, according to the report.

According to the report, of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 89 percent recommended Boyd be retained.

Among nonattorneys, 85 percent recommended retention, the report stated.

According to the online report, the recommendation for Petre’s retention also was unanimous on the part of the local commission.

Petre’s reviewers rated him favorably in judicial demeanor and described him as “fair, patient, compassionate, honest, dignified, diligent, thorough, honorable, thoughtful, respectful of all, keenly analytical and consistently neutral.”

But the evaluators, 114 attorneys and 142 nonattorneys, also “were adamant in criticizing the judge’s failure to make rulings in a timely fashion.”

According to the report, the evaluators conceded that the district has suffered budgetary cutbacks and staff reductions, coupled with a growing caseload, which may have hampered Petre’s case management.

The online report states that 64 percent of all attorneys surveyed, and 77 percent of all non-attorneys, recommended retention.

The local commission is part of a statewide system created in 1988 to provide performance evaluations of judges to voters.

Evaluations are derived partly from surveys of attorneys, jurors, litigants in civil cases, law enforcement personnel and others connected with or familiar with the workings of the local courts system.

In addition, judges complete self-evaluations, commission members visit courtrooms to watch the judges in action, and appellate judges are surveyed for their recommendations.

The 10-member commissions are appointed by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, the governor and the leaders of the state Legislature, and each member of the commission serves a four-year term.

jcolson@postindependent.com


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