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CJI Announces 2017 Judicial Excellence Awards Honorees

Selecting only three honorees from among this year’s outstanding nominees was difficult for the CJI Awards Committee.  Each nominee is an example of the best of Colorado’s judiciary.  After careful deliberation, the committee selected the following 2017 Judicial Excellence Awards Honorees:

District Court Judge John Popovich, 17th Judicial District (retired)
County Court Judge Gary Jackson, 2nd Judicial District
Magistrate Frances Johnson, 4th Judicial District

In addition, CJI will present a Judicial Leadership Award in 2017:

Judge Gale Miller, Colorado Court of Appeals (retired)

All four will be recognized at the Judicial Excellence for Colorado Dinner on October 18, 2017, 6 p.m., at the Denver Marriott City Center, 1701 California Street.  Individual seats for this event are on sale at here.  Information on sponsoring a table for the event is on the CJI website here.

New JPE Legislation Brings New…and Old…Challenges

The Colorado Judicial Institute has been closely monitoring Colorado’s Judicial Performance Evaluation legislation, scheduled to sunset in 2019.  The legislation that will replace it, House Bill 17-1303, passed with only three no votes and was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on June 5th.  The consensus in the judicial system is that only time will tell if the latest legislation is both “new” and “improved”.

“Our system wasn’t perfect but it was pretty good,” said Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice.  Rice pointed to judicial evaluation statistics that sometimes didn’t gather enough data to be significant in the old system and the ongoing challenges of both getting enough respondents and getting respondents who accurately represent the citizens appearing before a judge.  Still, she says, she didn’t have many other concerns.

Rice says that the new legislation needs meat on its bones. For example, instead of recommending “retain” under the new legislation, commissions will decide whether a judge “meets performance standards”.  However, the bill does not define “performance standards”, nor does it lay out the standards matrix that will be used for evaluating judges.  Rather it is relying on the interpretation of a district’s Judicial Performance Evaluation Commissioners.  The new legislation also removes the Colorado Supreme Court as the final approval for rules created by the state’s Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.  Click here to read more.

Interested in Becoming More Involved in the Colorado Judicial Institute?

Join one of our committees!  Contact our Executive Director, Amy Ostheimer, at for additional information.

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50 Years of Merit Selection: Gov. Hickenlooper’s Proclamation
Get the Facts! Judicial Merit Selection in Colorado
Law Week: Celebrating 50 Years of Merit Selection in Colorado
Want to know how Colorado selects and evaluates judges?
CJI Had Another Great Year!
2017 CJI Committee List

Interested in becoming more involved in CJI?  Click here for our list of committees.

Family Law Committee Report: Parent Perceptions

“Parents' Voices: The Other Side of the Bench”  was released in July 2011. The report, conducted over a two year period, uses surveys and interviews of parents who were involved in dependency and neglect proceedings in Colorado courts. The report is available for download below.