Second Judicial District - Denver County Judge
Honorable Clarisse Gonzales
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Second Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously (10-0) agrees that that Judge Clarisse Gonzales MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Judge Gonzales was appointed to the Denver County Court in January 2007. She earned her undergraduate degree in visual arts from the University of Northern Colorado in 1987 and her law degree from Howard University School of Law in 1992. Before becoming a judge, Judge Gonzales worked as a prosecutor, as both a court-appointed and private criminal defense lawyer, and as a guardian ad litem in dependency and neglect cases. Judge Gonzales also served as a district court magistrate in the Eighteenth Judicial District from 2005-2007. Judge Gonzales has been very active in a wide variety of community service activities including volunteer work in the Denver County Court, participating in activities to serve the homeless, and both hosting a family night and serving as a volunteer teacher at Warren Village, a transitional housing program for single parents.
The Commission reviewed the survey results of lawyers and non-lawyers who have appeared in Judge Gonzales’ court, interviewed the judge, and reviewed five written opinions and her self-evaluation. Selected members of the Commission observed Judge Gonzales in court. Among the survey questions was “based on your responses to the previous questions related to the performance evaluation criteria, do you think Judge Gonzales meets judicial performance standards?” Of the 35 attorneys responding to the survey, 82% answered yes, meets performance standards, while 18% answered no, does not meet performance standards. Of the 41 non-attorneys responding to the survey, 83% answered yes, meets performance standards, 13% answered no, does not meet performance standards, and 5% had no opinion whether Judge Gonzales meets or does not meet performance standards. Judge Gonzales’ survey results revealed an overall combined average rating above that of the combined rating of all county judges in the state standing for retention.
Judge Gonzales currently presides in the municipal criminal division and has previously presided in a civil division and traffic court. In 2015, Judge Gonzales received the Judicial Excellence Award for county court judges from The Colorado Judicial Institute. The Commission was impressed with Judge Gonzales’ high scores in all five areas of review among attorneys: case management, application and knowledge of the law, communications, demeanor and diligence. The Commission also acknowledges the thoughtfulness displayed by Judge Gonzales in both her self-evaluation and interview. Also of importance to the Commission was the quality of Judge Gonzales’ written opinions addressing complex statutory and constitutional issues not common to many municipal court cases. For all of these reasons, the Commission unanimously concluded that Judge Gonzales meets performance standards.