Colorado Court of Appeals
Honorable Terry Fox
Retention Year: 2014
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The State Commission on Judicial Performance recommends by a vote of 10 to 0 that Judge Terry Fox BE RETAINED.
Judge Fox was sworn in as a Judge on the Court of Appeals in January, 2011. She earned a bachelor's degree from the Colorado School of Mines in 1989. She earned her law degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas in 1993. Before her appointment, she was in private practice, worked in the Office of the Colorado Attorney General, and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Colorado, where she was on the U.S. Attorney's Advisory Council and the Diversity Committee. She now serves as a District Director for the National Association of Women Judges and works with the Colorado Supreme Court's Board of Law Examiners. She is part of the Colorado Judicial Institute, and participates in community and civic education.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Fox, read opinions that 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 that Judge Fox be retained in office, or not be retained in office?" Of attorneys responding to the survey, 69% recommended to retain, 13% not to retain, and 18% made no recommendation regarding retention. Of judges responding to the survey, 88% recommended to retain, 2% not to retain, and 10% made no recommendation regarding retention.
Attorney survey responses indicate that Judge Fox' performance was strong in the areas of treating parties equally, courtesy toward attorneys, and issuing opinions in a timely fashion. Attorney responses also indicate that she is weak in the areas of making reasoned decisions, writing opinions that are clear, writing opinions that adequately explain the basis of the decision, and refraining from reaching issues that need not be decided. The Commission's observations of Judge Fox during oral argument showed that she was well-prepared. The survey responses from trial and appellate judges commend her involvement in community activities and her work ethic. Likewise, the Commission recognizes that Judge Fox takes a particular interest in the community, and volunteers her time for numerous educational and mentoring activities. A few attorney comments indicate that Judge Fox' opinions seem more focused on reaching a particular conclusion than in explaining a clear line of reasoning. Based upon its review of Judge Fox' opinions, the Commission found that while some of them lacked in-depth analysis, others were thoughtful and well-reasoned. The Commission believes that Judge Fox should not allow her concern for timeliness of opinions to compromise the depth of her legal analysis or the clarity of her writing.