Twelfth Judicial District - Mineral County Court Judge
Honorable Ruth M. Acheson
Retention Year: 2016
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Twelfth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends, with one recusal, that Judge Ruth M. Acheson BE RETAINED.
Judge Acheson was appointed to the Mineral County Court on August 30, 2012. Prior to her appointment, Judge Acheson was a solo practitioner at the Law Office of Ruth Acheson since 2004, where her focus has been in the role of Guardian ad Litem. Prior to becoming a solo practitioner, Judge Acheson was the Managing Deputy for the local Public Defender’s Office, where she had been an attorney since 1985. Judge Acheson was also the Municipal Judge for the Town of Creede from 2005 to 2013. Judge Acheson received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology from Colorado University in 1976 and her law degree from the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, where Judge Acheson was a Wendell Willkie and AAUW Fellow, in 1981. Judge Acheson continues to be involved in her community as a member of the Twelfth Judicial District Best Practices in Child Welfare Committee, the San Luis Valley Family Treatment Court Team, and where she also worked to develop a judicial protocol to address the concerns of the Domestic Violence Offender Accountability Committee.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Acheson, observed her in court, read opinions she authored, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had experience with Judge Acheson. Among the survey questions was “how strongly do you recommend Judge Acheson be retained in office or not retained in office?” Of attorneys completing the survey, 80% recommended retention and 20% made no recommendation regarding retention. Of non-attorneys completing the survey, 89% recommended retention and 11% made no recommendation regarding retention. None of the survey respondents recommended that Judge Acheson not be retained. A total of 5 attorneys and 9 non-attorneys completed judicial performance surveys regarding Judge Acheson.
The vast majority of cases that Judge Acheson presides over are traffic and misdemeanor criminal matters. Based on the survey results of attorneys and non-attorneys, Judge Acheson consistently received ratings which exceed the combined rating of all county court judges standing for retention. The only areas that Judge Acheson scored below the average for all county judges standing for retention was in issuing prompt decisions, giving consistent sentences, providing all parties an opportunity to be heard, and in the categories of diligence and application of the law. Of note, Judge Acheson received a perfect rating from attorneys in the areas of setting reasonable schedules for cases, providing written communications that are clear, and being willing to handle cases not on her docket. Judge Acheson received a perfect rating from both attorneys and non-attorneys in the category of treating participants with respect, and this trait was observed by the Commissioners during their courtroom observations as well. Judge Acheson is recognized for her professionalism, patience, and kindness towards those who appear in her court.