Second Judicial District - Denver County Court Judge
Honorable Johnny C. Barajas
Retention Year: 2010
The Second Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Johnny C. Barajas BE RETAINED.
Judge Barajas became a Denver County Court Judge in January 2003. Judge Barajas was raised in southern Colorado and graduated from Colorado State University in 1981. He received his law degree from the University of Denver in 1984. Judge Barajas currently is assigned to the Civil Division of the Denver County Court and also hears restraining orders. Judge Barajas previously presided in other divisions of the Denver County Court; he started and presided in a special services court for juveniles with mental health issues.
Prior to his appointment, Judge Barajas served as a District Court Magistrate for juvenile and family law matters in Adams County. Judge Barajas began his legal career at the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Denver in 1984 as a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow in poverty law. He then practiced with two Denver law firms before opening his own practice. He later was appointed a Magistrate for the City and County of Denver and presided in night traffic court.
The Commission reviewed the results of surveys of lawyers and non-lawyers who were familiar with Judge Barajas’ work, interviewed the Judge, and reviewed three written opinions. In addition, selected members of the Commission observed Judge Barajas in court. When Judge Barajas recently rotated into the civil division, he inherited a huge backlog of cases, with over 15,000 cases pending in his courtroom. He took immediate action to clear up the backlog while successfully also managing his daily docket. Judge Barajas currently is completing 91% of his cases within 180 days, which exceeds the benchmark established by the Chief Justice. Almost all lawyers responding to the survey gave Judge Barajas above average ratings for his demeanor, for giving proceedings a sense of dignity and treating parties with respect. Judge Barajas also received average or above average ratings for case management, application and knowledge of the law, and oral communication skills. He was rated slightly below average for the quality of his written work.
Statistics confirm that Judge Barajas worked hard to eliminate the backlog in his courtroom and continues to manage his caseload efficiently. Judge Barajas received strong support from both lawyers and non-lawyers. Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 89% recommended to retain, 8% not to retain, and 3% expressed no opinion. Excluding those who had no opinion, 91% recommended to retain and 8% not to retain. Of all non-attorneys surveyed, 68% recommended to retain, 16% not to retain, and 16% expressed no opinion. Excluding those who had no opinion, 81% recommended to retain and 18% not to retain. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)