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Howard, Stephen 2014 Evaluation


Eighth Judicial District - District Court Judge

Honorable Stephen E. Howard 

Retention Year: 2014
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard


2014 Retention Survey Report (PDF)

2013 Interim Survey Report (PDF)


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The Eighth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Stephen E. Howard BE RETAINED.

Judge Howard received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Colorado and his undergraduate degree from Colorado College.  The Honorable Stephen Howard was appointed to the District Court in January 2011. Prior to his appointment, Judge Howard was a lawyer in private practice in Fort Collins, Colorado with an emphasis in civil litigation. Along with his extensive experience in private practice he has attended the National Judicial College.
Judge Howard’s court handles a mix of criminal cases (55%), domestic cases (10%), juvenile cases (5%) and civil cases (30%). Judge Howard believes his job is to serve the public, to act justly and to advance the perception of the fairness of the judicial system. He strives to take the time to listen to, and consider, the views of each person involved in the legal system and to timely issue rulings that reflect that those views have been heard, even if his decision is contrary to the views expressed. Of attorneys responding to the survey 80% recommended Judge Howard be retained, 11% recommended non-retention, and 9% did not make a recommendation. Ninety-two percent (92%) of the non-attorneys responding to the survey also recommended that Judge Howard be retained, with 6% recommending not to retain and 2% making no recommendation. He obtained high marks for his preparation, respect for litigants, and overall demeanor

The Commission reviewed evaluation surveys, the judge’s self-evaluation, and written opinions authored by him.  Commission members conducted courtroom observations, interviewed Judge Howard and a representative of the District Attorney’s Office. Attorneys who responded to the survey questionnaire speak to Judge Howard’s fairness and dedication to seeking the correct outcome. The Commission found him thoughtful in his interview. His demeanor is attentive and respectful of all involved. Non-attorneys who responded to the survey questionnaire also cited his fairness and ability to explain concepts to the jury. Judge Howard’s opinions are generally well written and he is credited with handling a diverse docket. The Commission considered statistical responses as well as written comments dealing with courtesy, impartiality, communication skill, judicial temperament, diligence, application of the law and retention. Judge Howard is working towards entering more timely rulings. As a newly appointed Judge, the Commission is confident this will improve.