Twentieth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Andrew Ross Macdonald
Retention Year: 2014
The ten members of the Judicial Performance Commission of the Twentieth Judicial District unanimously recommend that Judge Andrew Ross Macdonald BE RETAINED.
Judge Macdonald completed his undergraduate studies in 1982 at the University of Colorado. He graduated from Stetson University Law School in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1985. Before being appointed as a District Court Judge in May 2011, Judge Macdonald spent one year in private practice in St. Petersburg, three years with the Public Defender’s Office in Clearwater, FL, and the next 21 years in the Boulder County Attorney’s Office. In the latter position, Judge Macdonald handled a variety of legal matters for the Sheriff, Coroner, District Attorney, and the Board of County Commissioners.
The Commission reviewed responses to anonymous surveys sent to attorneys and non-attorneys who appeared in Judge Macdonald’s courtroom, a self-evaluation, unannounced observations in his courtroom, several written opinions, and an interview with Judge Macdonald. The commission also invited input from the citizens in a public hearing soliciting information about all the judges up for retention. In the first 15 months following his appointment to the District Court bench, Judge Macdonald spent 85% of his time dealing with civil cases and 10% in domestic relations. Since September 2013, he has been assigned almost entirely criminal matters. Survey results from attorneys showed slightly below average marks for Judge Macdonald, with an overall score of 3.17 out of 4.0 (but there were only 33 responses, a small sample size). In contrast, survey responses from 123 non-attorneys were very positive, with Judge Macdonald scoring 3.84 overall, the highest overall score attained by any of the nine judges standing for retention in 2014 in this District. Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 81% recommended retaining, 3% recommended not to retain, and 15% made no recommendation. Of non-attorneys surveyed, 98% recommended retaining, 1% not to retain, and 1% made no recommendation. (These percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.)
When asked if Judge Macdonald seemed to favor the prosecution or the defense in criminal matters, attorneys reported a slight bias in favor of the prosecution, rating him about average in his level of perceived bias among the nine judges up for retention. Note for context that attorney respondents tend to report, on average, a slight bias in favor of the prosecution among all judges standing for retention all across the state. In written comments, several attorneys complimented Judge Macdonald on his pleasant and fair demeanor. Several recognized that he is still learning many aspects of criminal law, which we would expect for a judge who is relatively new to the bench. Overall, Judge Macdonald appears to be successfully growing into his role as a District Court Judge, aided in large part by his engaging judicial demeanor and enthusiasm for the job.