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Gardner, Sandra 2010 Evaluation


Fourteenth Judicial District - Moffat County Court Judge 

Honorable Sandra H. Gardner

Retention Year: 2010
Recommendation: Retain

The Fourteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Sandra H. Gardner BE RETAINED.

Background: Judge Sandra H. Gardner was appointed judge to the Moffat County Court in 2006. Judge Gardner received her undergraduate degree from Colorado College in 1985 and her Juris Doctorate from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia in 1991. Prior to her appointment to the bench Judge Gardner practiced as an attorney in Steamboat Springs, Colorado before moving on to solo practice in 1996. While in private practice Judge Gardner’s focus areas were civil and criminal cases, family law, mediation as well as dependency and neglect cases. Judge Gardner currently hears all county court cases, which includes civil, traffic infractions, traffic offenses, misdemeanors, felony advisements and preliminary hearings. In addition, Judge Gardner conducts bench and jury trials as an acting District Court Judge in Moffat County.

Evaluation: The Commission reviewed written evaluations of Judge Gardner from attorneys and non-attorneys, including verbatim comments attached to the evaluation questionnaires. The Commission also considered a self-evaluation, orders and opinions written by Judge Gardner. Finally, members of the Commission personally observed Judge Gardner in her courtroom and conducted a face-to-face interview.

Judge Gardner demonstrates the ability to direct litigants representing themselves, keeping the process in the courtroom moving forward in a timely manner. She keeps all parties informed, making sure they have a clear understanding of the process. Additionally she maintains control of the courtroom, showing respect to both attorneys and self-represented litigants alike. Survey results showed overall Judge Gardner has good judicial temperament, is an analytical thinker and demonstrates the ability to handle the courtroom and people well, with a proven knowledge of the law. Judge Gardner received high ratings from both attorneys and non-attorneys in virtually every category of the survey, particularly in the areas of treating all parties equally; being fair and impartial toward both sides; communicating clearly, thoroughly and in a well-reasoned manner.

Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 96% recommended to retain, 4% not to retain, and 0% expressed no opinion. Of all non-attorneys surveyed, 84% recommended to retain, 7% not to retain, and 9% expressed no opinion. Excluding those who had no opinion, 92% recommended to retain and 7% not to retain. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)