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Publish Date: 10/8/2006

20th Judicial District, County Court judge review
Colorado Commission reviews judges across state


LONGMONT — While their names appear on the ballot, Colorado voters won’t find themselves being wooed by district and county judges.

However, there are ways for constituents to get to know their judges without ending up in front of them in court or at a forum.

Judicial rules require the judges to keep mum as voters determine if they will retain their jobs, to which they were originally appointed.

While the judges themselves are not to campaign or stump on their records, state law requires their jobs to be reviewed in exhaustive detail by the Colorado Commission on Judicial Performance, 10-member panels charged in each district with reviewing each judge on various criteria from the standpoints of the people who work with them daily or appear before them. Surveys, courtroom visits and interviews are used to determine the commissions’ recommendations.

Recommendations, including summaries and full survey results, are available online at the Commissions on Judicial Performance Web site.

Boulder County voters will be asked whether to retain three county judges and two 20th Judicial District judges. Weld County voters will be asked whether two county judges and two 19th Judicial District judges should keep their gavels and robes.

All of the local judges won commission endorsements, but some earned more enthusiasm than others. All the judges who work in Weld County received unanimous endorsements from their commissions, including Weld County judges Lynn Jay Karowsky and Charles Unfug and district judges Gilbert Gutierrez and James Hartmann.

Most of the judges who work in Boulder County won high praise as well, although the commission expressed some reservation for Boulder County Judge Noel Blum. The 10-member 20th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance gave him a lukewarm recommendation for retention, with six votes for his retention, three against and one member absent.

The commission noted that Blum had promised to work to improve on weaknesses identified in the surveys.

Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-684-5273, or by e-mail at pshields@times-call.com.

 
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