Vote Guide – Judge retention


Judge retention

County ballots will include four statewide and nine local judge
retention questions. If a judge is removed by a majority “No” vote, a
bipartisan commission submits candidates to the governor and his staff,
and someone new is appointed.

our endorsements, we used the Blue Book text, authored by the Colorado
Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation (COJPE). We also researched
the judges’ written opinions and sought input from Stan Garnett,
district attorney for the 20th Judicial District.

On the ballot, the questions read: Shall Judge [name] of the Court [name] be retained in office?

Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court — Brian D. Boatright


66 percent of the attorneys surveyed recommended Justice Boatright for
retention, citing concerns about his ability to write opinions “that
adequately explain the basis of the Court’s decision,” as well as his
ability to make “reasoned decisions based upon the law and facts.”

the justice acknowledges his shortcomings and vows to continue to
improve the clarity of his writing. Attorneys also said that Boatright
was courteous and allowed them the opportunity to present arguments. Add
to this that 97 percent of surveyed judges recommended his retention.

We recommend Boatright for retention.

Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court — Monica M. Márquez


COJPE’s evaluation of Monica M. Márquez shows that attorneys find her
“courteous,” and feel they are treated equally “regardless of race,
sex, or economic status,” and thus, 87 percent of attorneys recommend
Márquez for retention. Similarly, surveyed judges find Márquez
“intelligent,” “well prepared” and “hard working,” with 93 percent
recommending her for retention.

We recommend Márquez for retention.

Court of Appeals — Terry Fox


attorneys’ survey responses indicate that Judge Terry Fox treats
parties equally and she extends courtesy and respect toward attorneys,
their responses also indicate that she is weak in writing reasoned
decisions that are clear and adequately explain the legal basis of the

reviewing Fox’s opinions, the commission found some of her opinions did
lack “in-depth analysis,” but others were “thoughtful and

Still, 89 percent of trial and appellate judges recommend Fox for retention.

was sworn in as a judge on the Court of Appeals in January 2011. As a
relatively new judge on the court, Fox will likely grow with more

We recommend retention for Judge Fox.

Court of Appeals — Alan M. Loeb


Judge Alan Loeb has been on the Colorado Court of Appeals since 2003 and was appointed Chief Judge in October 2013.

and judges’ responses to surveys about Loeb all indicate that he is
fair, courteous and impartial. His writing is clear and attorneys find
it easy to see the legal basis for his opinions.

We recommend Loeb for retention.

District Judge, 20th Judicial District — Ingrid S. Bakke


evaluating Ingrid Bakke, survey participants “consistently” referenced
her professionalism and even temperament, according to the COJPE. She
was overwhelmingly recommended for retention by both attorneys (89
percent of those surveyed) and non-attorneys (93 percent).

We recommend Bakke for retention.

District Judge, 20th Judicial District — Maria E. Berkenkotter


Berkenkotter has been a district court judge in Boulder County since
2006, and was appointed chief judge of the 20th Judicial District in

workload is arduous, yet when surveyed about her performance, attorneys
and non-attorneys alike characterized her as fair, hardworking,
organized and consistently respectful to everyone in the courtroom.

summing up their evaluation of Berkenkotter, the COJPE writes that it
feels “fortunate to have such a skilled, hard-working, and
compassionate Chief Judge in the 20th Judicial District.”

We recommend Berkenkotter for retention.

District Judge, 20th Judicial District — Patrick Butler


Butler is a relatively new judge on the 20th Judicial District’s bench
— he was appointed in 2011 by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Attorneys
surveyed about Butler expressed some concern that Butler lacks
knowledge in certain areas of domestic relations law and that at times
he favors the “speedy resolution of matters over reaching a correct

this, the COJPE notes that both attorneys and non-attorneys “praised
Judge Butler for his calm, respectful, and accessible demeanor.”

The commission feels Butler will continue to address his shortcomings and further his development as a jurist.

We recommend Butler for retention.

District Judge, 20th Judicial District — Judith L. LaBuda


the COJPE admits Judith LaBuda’s survey results were “mixed,” with
some participants describing LaBuda as “smart, hard-working and
knowledgeable,” other responses indicate “she can be disrespectful,
imperious and inflexible.”

COJPE writes LaBuda’s knowledge of the law and willingness to grow in
her position encourages them to recommend her for retention. LaBuda
“voluntarily agreed to enter into an improvement plan to address her
demeanor and flexibility.”

has only been on the 20th Judicial District Court since 2012. We give
LaBuda the benefit of the doubt as a new judge who deserves appropriate
feedback to grow in her position.

We recommend LaBuda for retention.

District Judge, 20th Judicial District — Andrew Ross Macdonald


in May 2011, Andrew Ross Macdonald is still relatively new to the
bench. As such, some attorney respondents said Macdonald is still
learning many aspects of criminal law, but overall the comments were
positive, calling Macdonald’s demeanor “pleasant.”

did say Macdonald tends to favor the prosecution. However, the
commission notes “attorney respondents tend to report, on average, a
slight bias in favor of the prosecution among all judges standing for
retention all across the state.”

writes the COJPE, “Judge Macdonald appears to be successfully growing
into his role as a district court judge, aided in large part by his
engaging judicial demeanor and enthusiasm for the job.”

We recommend Macdonald for retention.

County Judge — David Archuleta


Archuleta has a long history of judicial service in Boulder County,
serving first as a deputy district attorney for the 20th Judicial
District from 1990 to 1999. He has been with the Boulder County Court
since 1999.

this evaluation he was rated above average by attorneys in each of the
17 categories provided, and 89 percent recommended him for retention.

similarly recommended retention in high numbers (87 percent), and
rated Archuleta above average in 15 of the 17 possible categories.

We recommend Archuleta for retention.

County Judge — Noel E. Blum


with Judicial Performance Commission review results in 2010 and 2006,
Judge Blum continues to receive criticism for his judicial demeanor,”
the COJPE writes in Blum’s most recent evaluation. “He has been
described by survey participants and observed by some Commission members
as being moody or impatient.”

current evaluation reads much like his last two: “Some participants
described him as courteous and hardworking, with a pleasant and friendly
demeanor,” writes the COJPE. “Other participants indicated that Judge
Blum can be abrupt, rude, and lacking neutrality.” Of the nine members
of the commission who voted on whether to recommend Blum for retention,
six voted yes while three voted no.

a decade on the County Court bench and three questionable performance
evaluations, we believe Blum’s supposed commitment to improving his
demeanor is less than sincere.

We do not recommend Blum for retention.

County Judge — Karolyn Moore


Moore garnered a “do not retain” recommendation from the COJPE. Survey
results show only 40 percent of responding attorneys recommended Moore
be retained. Their concerns seem to center on Moore’s perceived bias
toward prosecution.

the COJPE notes in the Blue Book that “attorney respondents tend to
report, on average, a slight bias in favor of the prosecution among all
judges standing for retention all across the state.”

thought it was remarkable that [Boulder County District Court] Judge
[Noel] Blum, who’s been criticized over the years for the same issues,
is recommended for retention, and yet Judge Moore, whose criticism is
really in one area … not be retained,” says Boulder County District
Attorney Stan Garnett.

adds that Moore was not offered an improvement plan, unlike other
judges. He also notes that Moore had the highest approval rate of any
Boulder County judge among non-lawyers. None of the attorneys surveyed
about her performance were prosecutors.

As this is her first evaluation, we believe Moore deserves the same feedback and chance to improve that her peers receive.

We recommend Moore for retention.

County Judge — Norma A. Sierra


Sierra, according to the COJPE’s evaluation, “is seen as a judge who
keeps appropriate control of her courtroom, communicates well, and is
diligent.” The main complaint from attorneys was a bias toward
prosecution, and a lack of knowledge of criminal law.

Sierra acknowledged her deficiency in criminal law, and the COJPE says she is taking steps to close the gap in her knowledge.

We recommend Sierra for retention.