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CJI History

Highlights of CJI's history include:

Judicial Education Fund.   Due to tight economic situations in Colorado in 2003, the judicial department was forced to do without state funding for judicial education. In response to the drastic state budget cuts, CJI established the Judicial Education Preservation Fund. A number of individual donors contributed to the fund as soon as it was established. CJI devoted significant effort to creating a fundraiser for the benefit of the Judicial Education Preservation Fund - The 2003 Judicial Excellence for Colorado Dinner. In the first year, over $30,000 was raised for the Fund to be used for continuing education for court personnel and judges.  Since 2003 the fund has grown with increasing amounts contributed by sponsors and attendees at the annual Judicial Excellence for Colorado Dinners.  Over $200,000 has been deposited with the Denver Foundation for judicial education.  The dinner, a well-established annual event, is held in the fall.

CJI has provided financial support for the State Judicial Conferences, individual judges to attend training sessions and conferences, judicial department employees to attend continuing education classes in their fields, and for training sessions on the establishment of specialty courts in individual judicial districts.

CJI extends its thanks to all the sponsors, attendees and award winners that make the Judicial Excellence for Colorado Dinner a success. For information on how to apply for funds from the Judicial Education Preservation Fund, please contact us at 303-766-7501 or via email.

National Judicial College Partnership:  In 2008 CJI entered into a partnership with the National Judicial College of Reno, NV to provide scholarships for Colorado Judges and magistrates to attend courses.  The NJC is one of the preeminent judicial training institutions in the nation.  CJI committed $75,000 over three years and the NJC matched $50,000 in the first two years of the agreement.  These scholarship funds can be used for tuition, travel, room & board.  CJI works closely with the State Court Administrator's Office to review judicial applications for the funds.

Our Courts: Public Education Program.  Following CJI's work with the Vote No 40 coalition in late 2006, members of the CJI board of directors partnered with the Colorado Bar Association to create the Our Courts public education program.  The program now has 11 statewide partners and over 150 trained speakers, and has garnered national attention as a model education program.  Presentations are available on the State Courts, Federal Courts, and the Rule of Law.

Youth Voices and Parent Voices Reports.  In late 2007, the CJI Family Law Committee published A Voice of Their Own: Youth Perceptions of How They Are Represented In Court Decisions Regarding Foster Care and Other Placements.  This qualitative study on the experiences of Colorado children appearing before the courts provided insight into the implementation of rules requiring that children be allowed to express themselves in proceedings impacting their future placements.  The study was widely distributed throughout the Colorado courts and family services community and is being used in training for family service providers.   In June 2011 the Family Law Committee of CJI published Parent Voices: The Other Side of the Bench.  This study explores the experience of parents who have been involved in dependency and neglect proceeding, and seeks to lend insight for judges and court stakeholders as they work toward systemic improvements on behalf of children and families. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution.  In 2001, CJI held a one-day statewide conference on ADR developments in Colorado. Attendees explored the public policy implications of using ADR in the courts, government, the private sector and communities.  CJI, in cooperation with the Chief Justice, conducted a survey of sitting judges on their perception of and use of ADR services.  The results of the survey have been used to determine educational objectives for the department. 

In cooperation with the Judicial Education Fund Committee, the CJI ADR committee supported individual judicial officers' attendance at the state ADR conference in 2008.

Judicial Performance Evaluation.   In cooperation with local colleges, CJI sponsored citizen committees to evaluate the performance of the judges up for retention election. A pilot evaluation committee was formed in the 18th Judicial District and was so successful in assisting in the assessment of judges that a statewide system of judicial evaluation commissions was mandated by law in the 1988 General Assembly.

In 2008 CJI worked with a legislative committee, other stakeholder organizations, and individuals to draft new Judicial Performance Evaluation legislation that was passed and signed into law by Governor Ritter.  The new program provided additional evaluation reports for judges,  increased the independence of the evaluation office, and increased the scope and methods for gaining evaluation data from those who interact with judges.

National Public Trust and Confidence Project.  In 1998, the American Bar Association and other nationwide groups called for a national effort to improve public trust and confidence in the Judiciary.  The Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court selected the Board of Directors of CJI as the Colorado citizens that would represent this State in the national effort.  CJI submitted a written report to the Colorado Supreme Court and representatives from CJI subsequently participated with the Colorado Chief Justice and bar association leaders in a national conference.

Commemoration of the Bicentennial of the U.S. Bill of Rights.   In 1991, in cooperation with the Supreme Court Committee on Public Education, CJI sponsored five college-community forums with the theme "The Judiciary and the Bill of Rights: Past, Present and Future."

Colorado Judiciary: A Voters' Guide.  This publication, distributed statewide in 1984, 1986 and 1988, provided biographical information and answers to pertinent questions about all Colorado judges up for retention election. The Guide was discontinued when statewide judicial performance evaluation commissions were established.

Mock Trial Competitions.   From 1984-1987, CJI cooperated with the Social Science Education Consortium in sponsoring statewide high school mock trial competitions. The Colorado Bar Association subsequently assumed sponsorship of this project.  CJI board members and staff still participate in the competitions as judges.

 

Want to know how Colorado selects and evaluates judges?
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.