Colorado Court of Appeals
Honorable Stephanie E. Dunn
Retention Year: 2016
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The State Commission on Judicial Performance recommends by a vote of 9 to 0, with one recusal, that Judge Stephanie E. Dunn BE RETAINED.
Judge Dunn was appointed as a Judge of the Court of Appeals in June, 2012. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in 1990 and earned her law degree from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 1993. Before joining the bench she was a partner at the law firm of Perkins Coie, LLC where she practiced from 2003-2012. While a partner at Perkins Coie, she was Chair of both the Denver Diversity committee and the Denver Pro Bono committee. Her work at Perkins Coie focused on business litigation and appellate practice in both state and federal courts. In addition to membership in several bar associations, she is a member of the National Association of Women Judges and The Colorado Lawyer’s Committee Hate Crimes Education Task Force. She also is a Fellow of the Colorado Bar Foundation and participates in the Our Courts program.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Dunn, read opinions she authored, observed her in court, reviewed her self-evaluation, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and judges regarding her performance. Among the survey questions was “how strongly do you recommend Judge Dunn be retained in office, or not be retained in office?” Of attorneys completing the survey 85% recommended to retain, 6% not to retain, and 9% made no recommendation regarding retention. Of judges completing the survey 97% recommended that she be retained and 3% made no recommendation regarding retention.
Attorney survey responses indicate that Judge Dunn’s performance was strong in treating parties equally, courtesy toward attorneys, issuing opinions in a timely manner, and being fair and impartial toward each side of the case. Attorney responses also indicate that she is effective in making reasoned decisions, writing opinions that are clear and adequately explain the basis of the decision. The Commission’s observation of Judge Dunn during oral arguments showed that she was well prepared, courteous, and engaging. Attorneys further acknowledge that her decisions are generally thoughtful, well researched, comprehensive, crisp, and straightforward. Judge Dunn’s appellate writing ability was considered strong in all categories measured by the survey. This was confirmed by the Commission’s review of her opinions. It was noted that she has on occasion not addressed arguments presented by the parties and can expand the breadth of her decision beyond that required by the issues in the case. The Commission believes that Judge Dunn is exemplary at meeting the timeliness of her opinions without compromising the depth of legal analysis or the clarity of her writing.