Fourth Judicial District - El Paso County Court Judge
Honorable Geoffrey deWolfe
Retention Year: 1994
Recommendation: Do Not Retain
Judge Geoffrey deWolfe was first appointed as a County Court Judge in El Paso County in July of 1987. He was admitted to the Bar in 1973 after receiving his Juris Doctorate Degree in 1972 from the University of Akron and his undergraduate degree in 1968 from the College of Wooster. Upon graduation from law school Judge deWolfe served as a VISTA volunteer and later as a staff attorney at Pikes Peak Legal Services until he was appointed to serve as an El Paso County Juvenile Commissioner in 1981. He served in that capacity until appointed to the County Court in July of 1987.
In a recent survey, Judge deWolfe received particularly low ratings form those responding legal practitioners that have practiced in front of him. Indeed, less than half (49.3%) of the lawyers responding voted he should be retained. 40.4% voted not to retain and 10.3% had no opinion on retention. Of principal concern to the practicing bar is Judge deWolfe’s apparent lack of judicial demeanor (54.0% felt it was inappropriate), his lack of courtesy (63% felt it was inappropriate) and his lack of compassion for those before him (57% felt he did not display compassion). Only 55% of the attorney responding believed Judge deWolfe displayed an appropriate sense of justice in his courtroom.
In response to the large number of lawyers recommending he not be retained, Judge deWolfe has defended his desire for retention by stating he believed there has been a misunderstanding as to his personality type. He believes that he is a serious person who rarely smiles and that his serious demeanor has been misinterpreted as a lack of courtesy. He also points out that his marks for promptness in rulings, knowledge of the substantive law and diligence on the bench are all above a 70% approval rating. The Commission notes, however, that in comparison to other Judges surveyed, these ratings, with the exception of promptness in ruling, were comparatively low.
Based on a review of the polling data, documents presented by Judge deWolfe it is the opinion of the Commission that Judge deWolfe SHOULD NOT BE RETAINED.