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Buss, Charles 1998 Evaluation


Twenty-First Judicial District - District Court Judge

Honorable Charles A. Buss

Retention Year: 1998
Recommendation: Retain


The Twenty-first Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Charles A. Buss BE RETAINED.

Judge Charles Buss graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1968. While at the University of Wisconsin he was a member of the school's Law Review, and graduated in the top 12% of his class.

Following his graduation Judge Buss moved to Colorado where he worked in a law firm in Denver, and then began working for Colorado Rural Legal Services in Pueblo, Colorado, administering legal aid on behalf of the poor and needy in that community. He was transferred to CRLS legal services in Grand Junction where he remained until 1973. From 1973 through 1977 he was in private practice in Grand Junction until his appointment to the District Court bench in 1977 by then Governor Lamm.

During his time as a District Court judge the Mesa County Court has undergone dramatic changes. The number of judicial officers has increased from four to eight, court filings have increased dramatically, all consistent with the population growth in Grand Junction and Mesa County.

Judge Buss currently serves as Chief Judge for Mesa County and the Twenty-first Judicial District. His duties, in addition to carrying a full compliment of cases, include overseeing the entire court operations, probation services, and administration of the courthouse.

For fifteen years Judge Buss has served on the statewide Colorado Juvenile Justice Council whose purpose is to improve the status of the juvenile justice system. He was a member of the Mesa County Partner's board, the Mesa County Community Corrections board, and currently serves as a chairman of a court reform committee regarding dependency and neglect which is charged with implementing changes in processing dependency and neglect cases.


During his time as a Chief Judge, Judge Buss has led the effort to make many changes in the court system in Mesa County, especially those dealing with how citizens are treated by the court system. The jury service has been modified in order to make the system more understandable and convenient for the jurors; the clerk of court and court system has been streamlined in order to attempt to make it more user friendly to citizens; mediation and small claims court has been implemented; child support collection measures have been taken and increased; educational programs for parents and children in divorce have been implemented; and an outreach effort to have judges speak at public schools has been encouraged.

During his career he has handled a number of complicated cases and high profile murder cases. During a regular week, when not participating in trials, his docket provides to him over 100 court appearances from Monday through Friday.

Of the attorney's surveyed over 77% recommended that Judge Buss be retained. 92% of the court employees recommended that Judge Buss be retained, and 100% of all law enforcement and crime victims surveyed recommended that Judge Buss be retained.

In his interview with the Committee Judge Buss was found to be forthright, honest, and open to questions and suggestions with regard to any improvements.

The 21st Judicial District Performance Committee unanimously recommends that Judge Charles A. Buss be retained as a district court judge for the 21st Judicial district court.