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DeVilbiss, J. E. 1990 Evaluation


Ninth Judicial District - District Court Judge

Honorable J. E. DeVilbiss

Retention Year: 1990
Recommendation: Retain


Judicial Performance Commission’s recommendation: Should Be Retained.

Judge DeVilbiss graduated from the University of Texas in 1957, received his law degree from the same institution in 1965, and was admitted to the Texas Bar. He was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1970.

He began the practice of law as a staff attorney with the Texas Securities Commission. He then was employed by Travis County, Austin, Texas, first as a deputy district attorney and then as a deputy county attorney. In 1970, he moved to Colorado and became a deputy district attorney in the Ninth Judicial District. Shortly thereafter, he went into private practice in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale. Concurrently, from 1972 to 1976, he served as an associate County Court judge in Garfield County. He is presently serving as a district judge in the Ninth Judicial District and has done so since 1976. In his present position, he hears a general civil, criminal, domestic relations and juvenile caseload.

The results of the survey of attorneys, law enforcement agents, litigants, jurors and staff, regarding DeVilbiss’ performance were generally very positive.

Attorneys responding to the survey had the most written comments. Those who praised DeVilbiss often used superlatives, particularly with regard to his qualities as a superior trial judge, his compassion and his concern for people. Those who criticized DeVilbiss were equally emphatic, particularly in the area of DeVilbiss’ attitude and demeanor. Overall, the only pervasive criticism of DeVilbiss came in the area of delay in the handling of civil cases, particularly with regard to decisions concerning pretrial motions. On the other hand, many saw DeVilbiss’ handling of juvenile and child custody cases as his strongest point.

Written comments for law enforcement were similar to the attorney comments, with high praise for the judge’s perceptiveness and understanding of human issues, particularly in juvenile and criminal cases. Jurors, staff and litigants who responded to the surveys were virtually unanimous in their support of DeVilbiss.

DeVilbiss acknowledges that there does exist a problem in connection with the prompt handling of civil matters. Although ultimately he accepts responsibility for the problem, he also feels criminal, juvenile and domestic cases should take priority and that additional staffing from the state judicial department might help. He also pointed out that his job requires a considerable amount of travel to Aspen, Glenwood Springs and Meeker. Overall, DeVilbiss is viewed as a highly competent and effective district judge.