Fourth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Deborah J. Grohs
Retention Year: 2016
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Fourth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously (10-0) recommends that Judge Deborah J. Grohs BE RETAINED.
Judge Deborah J. Grohs was appointed to the District Court on September 28, 2007. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University in 1982 and her law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1985. Before being appointed to the District Court, Judge Grohs was the head Public Defender for Douglas, Lincoln and Elbert Counties; a supervisor in the Colorado Springs Public Defender’s Office; and a Public Defender in Chicago, Illinois. Judge Grohs serves the community as a volunteer Judge for Teen Court, and high school Mock Trial competitions. Judge Grohs has served as President of the Ben S. Wendelken Inn of Court, a legal education organization. She has also served on the Community Corrections Board and the Office of Dispute Resolution Advisory Board. Judge Grohs serves on the Colorado Supreme Court Criminal Rules Committee.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Grohs, reviewed her self-assessment and 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 her in the courtroom. Of attorneys completing the survey, 80% recommended retaining Judge Grohs, 14% not to retain, and 7% expressed no opinion. Of non-attorneys completing the survey, 74% recommended to retain, 15% not to retain, and 12% expressed no opinion.
Judge Grohs’ docket is now 50% domestic relations cases and 50% criminal cases. Judge Grohs developed and presides over a problem solving Court whose focus is on those accused of a crime who suffer from mental illness. Judge Grohs’ survey response scores by attorneys are almost all above average. Her scores from non-attorneys are slightly lower than the attorney scores, but are still almost all above average. More importantly, as a trend these scores are significantly higher than the first time Judge Grohs was considered for retention. The non-attorney “Other” group that includes law enforcement officers, defendants, litigants and witnesses consistently rated Judge Grohs below average in almost every category. However, she received many positive comments about case management, demeanor and fairness from attorneys and jurors. Observers noted her courtroom was well managed and she exhibited many of the positive traits that were reported by attorneys and jurors who appear in her courtroom and juror groups.