Anderson, Adele 2004 Evaluation


Tenth Judicial District - Pueblo County Court Judge

Honorable Adele K. Anderson 

Retention Year: 2004
Recommendation: No Opinion

The Tenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance has reached a "NO OPINION" for Judge Adele K. Anderson. The majority of the Commission members voted no opinion concerning the retention of Judge Anderson.

Judge Adele Anderson was appointed as a Pueblo County Court Judge in 1989. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she was a partner in a local law firm. Before she moved to Pueblo in 1981, she was a non-lawyer county probate juvenile judge in Goodland, Kansas. She graduated in the top 11% of her class at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Throughout Judge Anderson's professional career, she has been a member of the Colorado Bar Association and the Pueblo County Bar Association. Judge Anderson's community involvement includes service as a volunteer to at-risk students through the Communities In Schools of Pueblo, Inc. Tutor/Mentor Initiative program.

The Commission studied the written evaluations of Judge Anderson from attorneys and non-attorneys and interviewed representatives from several community agencies that work with the courts on a regular basis. The Commission also considered a written self-evaluation that Judge Anderson submitted and conducted a personal interview with Judge Anderson. Although Judge Anderson's written evaluations indicated that her professional handling of cases and her standard courtroom decorum were outstanding, several concerns regarding Judge Anderson were noted:

1. Judge Anderson's approach and style in dealing with defendants and plaintiffs have been observed as being too curt to the point of being rude to persons in her courtroom.
2. Often her treatment of defendants from lower socio-economic backgrounds has been perceived as demeaning and lacking compassion.
3. Her overall evaluations are rated below the rest of the Colorado County Judges and all trial Judges who face retention in the next general election.
Positive evaluations for Judge Anderson include statements that she possesses good knowledge of the law. Her research skills are very good. Her courtroom and her docket are well organized. Two defense attorneys praised her work as a judge, and a prosecutor complimented Judge Anderson for her judicial abilities. She was described as being fair, tough, logical, courteous, and insightful by one non-attorney who has had experience in her courtroom. She has been nominated for a Judicial Excellence Award.

Although there has been notable improvement from the last evaluation, Judge Anderson's lack of compassion for those of lower socio-economic level is very noticeable in her courtroom. Past evaluations and recommendations by previous Judicial Performance Commissions have tried to communicate to Judge Anderson her need to improve her people skills. Her self evaluation demonstrates that she does not see herself as needing improvement. This Commission disagrees with her opinion in this matter.

The Commission recommends that Judge Anderson obtain training in human relations and obtain the services of someone who could help her recognize the need for and how to be more understanding, open, and sensitive to the diversity of those people who appear in her court.

The Commission has NO OPINION concerning the retention of Judge Anderson.
The issue of recommendation for retention was addressed by the Commission after review of all available information. Two members of the Commission voted to retain, seven voted no opinion. Verbatim comments were not recorded. Generally, those in favor of retention indicated the positive information received was stronger than the negative. All commissioners agreed with the recommendation for Judge Anderson to continue to seek professional development opportunities.