Ninth Judicial District - Pitkin County Judge
Honorable Erin Fernandez-Ely
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Ninth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission agrees with a unanimous vote of 9-0 that Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely was born in Arlington, Virginia and moved to Caracas, Venezuela in 1956 with her family as a part of her father’s work. She holds degrees from Marymount International School outside of London (1970) and Wellesley College (1973). She graduated from University of Florida Law School in 1975 at the age of 22. She then worked as a prosecutor of economic crimes and other felonies in South Florida. She moved to Aspen, Colorado in 1978, where she practiced law in the areas of civil and criminal litigation, real estate transactions, and land-use development. She was appointed to the County Court bench in 2000. She has been a pioneer in bond reform by developing a pretrial service program in 2003. In 2012, she spearheaded the creation of a Wellness Court, to address mental health issues in order to reduce crime, which has enjoyed a 50% success rate. She also serves on the District Attorney’s task force on restorative justice.
The evaluation process included several steps. Survey responses were summited by lawyers and non-attorneys including court staff, law enforcement employees, jurors, litigants, and witnesses. The Commission read three opinions written by the judge including a case that was appealed. There was observation of the judge at work, as well as a personal interview with the judge. The Commission worked to ensure all issues were covered such as integrity, communication, legal knowledge, judicial temperament, and administrative performance. The lawyers surveyed showed 100% agreement that Judge Fernandez-Ely meets performance standards. There is a 90% agreement from non-attorneys that Judge Fernandez-Ely meets performance standards, 5% do not agree, 5% have no opinion. The areas of case management, communications, diligence, demeanor, and fairness gave her an average of 3.74 out of a possible 4. The application and knowledge of the law score was 3.6 out of a possible 4. All of her scores were higher than other county court judges up for retention throughout the state.
The Commission received consistently positive comments concerning Judge Fernandez-Ely, which demonstrates recognition of the hard work she has put in over the years. She is well placed. She uses her strong legal knowledge to provide justice and solutions to the issues that face not only those that appear in front of her, but the community at large. Compassion is the attribute that gives her an edge in her work and feeds her passion. Her demeanor is engaging and demonstrates neutrality, fairness, patience, and consistency. She seeks to resolve conflicts using all the tools available to her including firmness when necessary. This Judicial Performance Commission agrees unanimously that Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely meets performance standards.