Colorado Supreme Court
Honorable Richard L. Gabriel
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The State Commission on Judicial Performance finds that Justice Richard L. Gabriel MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS, by a vote of 9-0. The judicial performance standards are: integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and the public.
Justice Gabriel was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court effective September 1, 2015. He graduated from Yale University in 1984 and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1987. He was a City Prosecutor for Lafayette, Colorado, a law firm partner, and a Colorado Court of Appeals judge for seven years. Justice Gabriel stays active in court-related and community activities, including the Our Courts program, the Colorado Judicial Institute, the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professional Development, the Colorado Bar Association Judicial Liaison Section, and the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court. He also speaks to citizen and school groups about the court system.
The Commission interviewed Justice Gabriel, read a selection of his legal opinions, observed him in court, reviewed his self-evaluation, and considered survey responses from attorneys and judges. One survey question asked whether Justice Gabriel met judicial performance standards. Of the attorneys who responded to that question, 98% answered yes, 2% answered no. Of the judges who responded to that question, 97% answered yes, 1% answered no, and 1% had no opinion. A total of 62 attorneys and 67 judges completed the survey.
Justice Gabriel has been on the Supreme Court for about three years, and this is his first retention review as a justice. Attorney survey responses indicate that Justice Gabriel’s performance is strong in the areas of being prepared for oral argument, being courteous, and treating parties equally. The survey responses of attorneys and judges indicate that he issues opinions in a timely manner, writes opinions that are clear, and adequately explains the basis of the Supreme Court’s decision. The Commission reviewed several of Justice Gabriel’s opinions and also found them to be clear, thoughtful, and well-reasoned. Comments from attorneys and judges suggested that he is timely in reaching decisions, engages all parties, is concerned for litigants, and is knowledgeable based on his diverse courtroom background. The Commission believes that Justice Gabriel is a valuable asset to the Supreme Court.