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Carlson, Suzanne 2014 Evaluation


Sixth Judicial District - District Court Judge

Honorable Suzanne F. Carlson 

Retention Year: 2014
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard


2014 Retention Survey Report (PDF)


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The Sixth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance by a unanimous vote recommends that Judge Suzanne F. Carlson BE RETAINED.

Judge Carlson was appointed to the District Court for the Sixth Judicial District in July of 2012.  Prior to her appointment, she served as a judge for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe for six years.  She also practiced at the Law Firm of Lisa Ward LLC with a focus on divorce and child custody matters.  Prior to 2005, Judge Carlson served as a Deputy State Public Defender as a criminal defense attorney for approximately 10 years.  Judge Carlson earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado 1990, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Colorado Law School in 1994.

The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Carlson, reviewed decisions she authored, observed her in court, met with the District Attorney, reviewed written comments from the public, and analyzed survey responses and comments from attorneys and non-attorneys who appeared in her court.  Among the survey questions was “how strongly do you recommend that Judge Carlson be retained in office, or not be retained in office?”  Of attorneys responding to the survey, 79% recommended Judge Carlson be retained in office, 17% recommended that she not be retained, and 4% made no recommendation regarding retention.  Of non-attorneys responding to the survey, 70% recommended Judge Carlson be retained in office, 8% recommended that she not be retained, and 23% made no recommendation regarding retention.  (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)

Judge Carlson presides over criminal, domestic, juvenile, civil and probate matters in her court.  While Judge Carlson received an overall combined average rating in the survey results from both attorneys and non-attorneys which was below the average combined rating of all district judges standing for retention this election, her overall combined average rating was above the rating level prescribed by the governing rules for the Commission to recommend retention.  Judge Carlson was described in many of the written comments as being fair, and giving the parties appearing in her court an opportunity to be heard.