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Dickinson, David 2002 Evaluation


Sixth Judicial District - District Court Judge

Honorable David L. Dickinson 

Retention Year: 2002
Recommendation: Retain

The Sixth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge David L. Dickinson BE RETAINED.

Judge Dickinson was appointed to the District Court for the Sixth Judicial District in December 1998. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he practiced law in Durango, Colorado specializing in real estate, commercial and business litigation and local government law. He received his undergraduate degree from the Colorado School of Mines in 1964 and his law degree from the University of Denver in 1976. Judge Dickinson presently hears approximately 40% civil cases, 20% domestic cases, 25% criminal cases and 15% juvenile cases.

The Commission reviewed court generated statistics, documentation from interested parties, surveys from both attorneys and non- attorneys, as well as a written self-evaluation completed by Judge Dickinson. The Commission also held a public hearing and conducted a personal interview with Judge Dickinson.

In survey and interview responses and in public hearing comments, concerns were raised about delays in certain cases assigned to Judge Dickinson. Upon extensive review, the Commission found that Judge Dickinson inherited a disproportionate backlog of cases at the time he was appointed. Also, immediately after appointment, the cases assigned to Judge Dickinson were initially split on an 80% civil and 20% criminal basis. Because the pre-trial work and time required of a judge for civil cases is substantially greater than that for criminal cases, this 80% and 20% split contributed to the back-log and delays in rulings on certain cases before Judge Dickinson.

After considering all the comments and information provided, it is the consensus of the Commission that Judge Dickinson has made substantial progress in managing the cases assigned to him. It is also clear to the Commission that Judge Dickinson is sincere in his efforts to continue to improve his case management skills. Caseload assignments are no longer split on the 80% civil and 20% criminal case basis. He has also personally implemented time management controls and tracking techniques to keep him abreast of the age of pending cases. All of these changes have significantly helped reduce the delays experienced by some litigants, particularly within the last 10-month period.

Judge Dickinson received high marks from attorneys and non-attorneys alike concerning his integrity. He places an extremely high level of importance to family and juvenile cases. With respect to sentencing decisions in criminal cases, Judge Dickinson strives to achieve a balance that will promote the rehabilitation of the offenders while assuring safety for the community.