Preserving and enhancing the fairness, impartiality and excellence of Colorado's Courts for Colorado's people.
Straight Talk with Justices Postponed Due to COVID-19 Concerns
In response to Colorado public health officials’ call for social distancing due to COVID-19, CJI has decided to postpone this month’s Straight Talk with Justices until this health crisis has passed. If you are a registered participant, find more information on rescheduling and requesting a refund in your email box. We will post the rescheduled CLE date when it is available.
What Every Coloradan Should Know About
Colorado’s Judicial Performance Commissions
By Judge Lino Lipinsky, Colorado Court of Appeals
The twenty-three Colorado commissions on judicial performance play a vital role in the state’s system for selecting and retaining judges based on merit. Through nonpartisan judicial retention elections, the voters decide whether a judge will remain in office. The performance commissions gather information on the judges who appear on the ballot for retention and then prepare a report for voters, opining on whether the judges standing for retention meet performance standards.
The information the performance commissions provide to voters is particularly important because so few people have direct contact with judges. Only a small percentage of Coloradans are court staff or attorneys, or appear in court as jurors, witnesses, or litigants. Yet the voters shoulder the duty of deciding whether judges will retain their positions. The commissions provide information on which voters can rely when deciding how to vote on judges.
Newly-appointed judges (including supreme court justices) serve a provisional two-year term. The judge’s name appears on the ballot after his or her first two complete years on the bench. The judge does not run against another candidate or as a member of a political party. Nor is the judge permitted to campaign. Rather, the electorate decides “yes” or “no” whether to retain the judge based on the voter’s own knowledge and information provided by the pertinent performance commissions.
CJI has long supported the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to help settle lawsuits. Research has shown that mediation can produce a faster, more cost-effective, and more durable resolution for parties, even if the case is already in the courts.
A big thank you to Judge Lynn Karowsky, the CJI ADR committee and Colorado’s Office of Dispute Resolution for this much needed resource.
Our Courts Launches Program for Colorado's Upcoming Voters
Our Courts Colorado has a new high school program teaching the next generation about Colorado's merit selection system for appointing judicial officers.
Our Courts started a little over a decade ago out of an unsuccessful ballot initiative to impose term limits for appellate judges. CJI and other organizations opposing the initiative they realized most voters didn’t really know how Colorado’s judicial system works. Our Courts has been educating adults around Colorado ever since. This is their first program for high schoolers.
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?
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.