Judicial Awards Honor Excellence and Fairness
in Colorado Courts
Three outstanding Colorado jurists were honored for upholding the Centennial State’s tradition of fair, impartial and accountable courts before an audience of 600 civic leaders at the Colorado Judicial Institute’s 10th Annual Judicial Excellence for Colorado Dinner Nov. 14 at the Marriott City Center in Denver.
Receiving CJI’s annual Judicial Excellence Awards were District Court Chief Judge Robert S. Hyatt of the 2nd Judicial District Court, Douglas County Court Judge Susanna Meissner-Cutler of the 18th Judicial District, and Magistrate Bonnie McLean of the 18th Judicial District. The trio were honored for outstanding performance on and off the bench by CJI, a non-profit citizens group which works to protect the merit system of judicial selection adopted by Colorado voters in 1966 – while improving the quality and helping ensure the accountability of Colorado’s judiciary.
Besides recognizing judicial excellence, the annual dinner helps raise funds to foster that very excellence. Since CJI created its Judicial Education Fund in 2002, it has raised more than $260,000 to support continuing education for judges, magistrates and full-time judicial department employees. Such grants have become even more important in recent years as the state’s fiscal crisis has forced cutbacks in the court system’s budget even while case loads continued to grow.
The support of CJI and other groups for merit selection of judges has helped spare Colorado from the rancorous and demeaning judicial campaigns such as the 2010 Iowa vote in which heavily-financed out-of-state interests succeeded in removing three members of the Iowa Supreme Court because they joined a unanimous ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the Equal Protection clause of the Iowa state Constitution. The three former Iowa jurists, recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award keynoted CJI’s 2012 dinner.