Colorado Court of Appeals
Honorable Jerry N. Jones
Retention Year: 2016
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The State Commission on Judicial Performance recommends by a vote of 7 to 2, with one recusal, that Judge Jerry N. Jones BE RETAINED.
Judge Jones was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals in 2006. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and received his undergraduate degree at Arizona State University. He graduated from the University of Denver College of Law and clerked for Justice Lohr of the Colorado Supreme Court. He was a partner with the Denver law firm of Moye Giles LLP. During a portion of that time, he also served as a Special Assistant Attorney General, handling criminal and higher education matters. Immediately prior to his appointment to the Court, Judge Jones served as Chief of the United States Attorney's Appellate Division. He was a member of the Second Judicial District Performance Commission, serving for five years as Chair. He has been a member of the Colorado Bar Association’s Amicus Committee and the Faculty of Federal Advocates. Currently he serves on the Colorado Supreme Court’s Civil Rules, Judicial Education, and Judicial Conference Planning committees; he chairs the Public Access Committee.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Jones, read opinions that he authored, observed him in court, reviewed his self-evaluation, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and judges regarding his performance. Included in the survey were responses to the question “How strongly do you recommend that Judge Jones be retained in office?” Of attorneys completing the survey 74% recommended to retain, 15% to not retain and 11% made no recommendation regarding retention. Of judges completing the survey 97% recommended to retain and 3% to not retain.
Attorney survey responses indicated that Judge Jones’ performance was strong in the areas of being prepared for oral argument and also in the clarity of his written opinions. Both attorneys and judges suggested strength in the areas of quality and timeliness of his written opinions. Based upon its review of Judge Jones’ written opinions, the Commission found them to be generally well written, but the quality of his writing was inconsistent. Attorneys noted relative weakness in the areas of fairness and impartiality. Attorneys also noted weakness in the areas of being courteous toward attorneys and allowing parties to present their arguments and answer questions. The Commission concluded, based upon courtroom observation, that he was courteous to some attorneys, and not courteous to others, making his demeanor inconsistent. The Commission raised these areas of concern with Judge Jones during his interview. He was initially dismissive, but the issues were thoroughly discussed at a follow-up interview at Judge Jones’ request. The Commission recommends that Judge Jones undertake additional training to be more effective both as a listener and a questioner during oral arguments. The Commission also urges Judge Jones to continue his efforts to address these concerns.