First Judicial District - Jefferson County Judge
Honorable Susan Lori Fisch
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The First Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously (10-0) agrees that Judge Susan Lori Fisch MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Judge Fisch was appointed to the Jefferson County Court in 2008. Prior to her appointment, Judge Fisch was a state public defender for twenty years and then a federal public defender. She attended the University of Denver for both her undergraduate education and her law degree. Currently, she trains new judges statewide and teaches at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Fisch, reviewed opinions she authored, observed her in court, reviewed comments received from interested parties during the evaluation, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had experience with Judge Fisch. Among the survey questions was “based on your responses to the previous questions related to the judicial performance criteria, do you think Judge Fisch meets judicial performance standards?” Of the attorneys that responded to the survey, 95% answered, yes, meets performance standards 0% answered no, does not meet performance standards, and 5% had no opinion regarding whether Judge Fisch meets or does not meet performance standards. Of non-attorneys responding to the survey, 95% answered, yes, meets performance standards 3% answered no, does not meet performance standards, and 3% had no opinion regarding whether Judge Fisch meets or does not meet performance standards. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding). A total of 38 attorneys and 76 non-attorneys responded to the judicial performance surveys expressing their opinion of Judge Fisch’s performance.
Judge Fisch presided over criminal matters this term. Based on the Commission’s overall evaluation, Judge Fisch has demonstrated she meets or exceeds performance standards in all categories. Judge Fisch received consistently positive reviews in her surveys from attorneys and non-attorneys. In the surveys, attorneys complimented her exceptional communication skills, respect shown to all parties, strong legal knowledge, fairness, diligence, and efficient case management. Non-attorneys complemented Judge Fisch for being professional yet personable, being a great listener and an articulate speaker in explaining the proceedings, and for showing genuine and appropriate interest in putting all case participants, including jurors and witnesses, at ease. In her interview, Judge Fisch noted that one of her strengths is handling cases where a party represents himself or herself. During courtroom observations, the Commission observed that Judge Fisch excels in making court proceedings understandable and approachable for those without counsel. Judge Fisch also noted that she enjoys mentoring less experienced attorneys by providing constructive comments to those who request feedback after proceedings are concluded. Judge Fisch received praise as being an efficient and excellent Judge from both the District Attorney and Public Defender. The Commission is impressed with overall positive scores and comments for Judge Fisch’s performance as well as her teaching and other contributions to the community. Based on these findings, the Commission unanimously agreed that Judge Fisch meets judicial performance standards.