Eighteenth Judicial District - Arapahoe County Judge
Honorable Colleen Clark
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Eighteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance agrees, by a vote of 9 to 1, that Judge Colleen Clark MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Judge Clark was appointed to Arapahoe County Court in October 2016. Prior to appointment, Judge Clark worked as a contract civil attorney and a deputy district attorney, spending most of her time representing victims in the Crimes against Children units. Judge Clark also worked part time as a municipal judge for the City of Aurora and part time as a magistrate in the 18th Judicial District, handling the truancy docket. Judge Clark received an undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester in 2000 and law degree from Boston University in 2003. Judge Clark recognizes the lack of mental health resources as a huge stressor in the system and meets with local service providers that can support mental health and substance abuse needs.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Clark, reviewed opinions she authored, observed her in court, reviewed comments from interested parties and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had experience with Judge Clark. Among the survey questions was, “based on your responses to the previous questions related to the performance evaluation criteria, do you think Judge Clark meets judicial performance standards?” Of the attorneys responding to the survey, 63% answered yes, meets performance standards, and 38% answered no, does not meet performance standards (these percentages do not total 100% due to rounding). Of the non-attorneys responding to the survey, 93% answered yes, meets performance standards, 5% answered no, does not meet performance standards, and 2% had no opinion. Nine attorneys and fifty-six non-attorneys responded to the judicial performance surveys expressing their opinion of Judge Clark’s performance.
Judge Clark presides over a criminal docket. Based on the Commission’s overall evaluation, Judge Clark has demonstrated she meets or exceeds performance standards in almost all categories. Attorneys responding to the surveys rated Judge Clark’s overall performance lower than non-attorneys and rated Judge Clark’s performance in “Application and Knowledge of the Law” lower than all other categories. Interested parties and the commission expressed concern over commitment to judicial duties, and during the interview with Judge Clark, the commission was assured that she is aware of the concerns and is taking appropriate steps to correct them. Judge Clark received high marks in case management, communications and demeanor and is often described as fair and kind, treating all participants in the courtroom with respect and dignity. Commission members observed these traits during their evaluation and interview with Judge Clark and were very impressed by her dedication to making sure those before her have clear written instructions and have knowledge of support mechanisms to help them meet their requirements. Though Judge Clark delivers most of her opinions orally, her written opinions are communicated very clearly. Based on these findings the Commission agrees that Judge Clark meets judicial performance standards by a vote of 9 to 1.