First Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Philip James McNulty
Retention Year: 2016
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The First Judicial District Commission of Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Chief Judge Philip James McNulty BE RETAINED.
Judge McNulty was appointed to the First Judicial District (Jefferson and Gilpin counties) in 2008. Judge McNulty graduated from Colorado State University in 1981 and Denver University Law School in 1984. He worked as a Deputy City Attorney in Lakewood from 1985 to 1988 and served as a Deputy District Attorney from 1988 through 1996. He served as a Lakewood Municipal Judge from 1996 to 2008 before his appointment to the First Judicial District Court bench. Judge McNulty has served as the chief Judge of the First Judicial District since 2014. Judge McNulty is currently the chairman for the Jefferson County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. He is a member of the Jefferson County Community Corrections Board, the State Judicial Chief Judge Council, State Judicial Financial Services Division, and the State Judicial Disciplinary Review Board. He has visited grade and high schools to educate the students about the court system. He is also very active in his church and has served on the Parish Council.
The Commission observed Judge McNulty in the courtroom, reviewed decisions, survey results, the Judge’s self-evaluation and case management reports, considered information from other interested parties, and conducted several personal interviews. Forty-one attorneys and seventy-six non-attorneys identified as having experience before Judge McNulty in 2015-2016 completed the judicial performance survey. In the 2016 Final Survey Report, 92% of attorneys completing the survey recommended to retain, 3% made no recommendation, and 5% recommended not to retain. Of the non-attorneys, 96% recommended to retain, 0% made no recommendation, and 4% recommended not to retain. Of the thirteen appellate court judges who evaluated Judge McNulty, 48% applied a grade of “A”, 14% a grade of “B”, and none for grades “C”, “D”, or “F”. 38% of appellate judges responded that they did not know or have enough information to grade Judge McNulty.
Judge McNulty scored significantly higher than all District Court judges in the categories of demeanor, sense of compassion, conducting his courtroom in a neutral manner, treating participants with respect, and projecting a sense of dignity. Judge McNulty works hard to ensure equal treatment of all persons, treats everyone in his court with courtesy and respect, keeps an open mind before making a final decision, and demonstrates an excellent judicial temperament. Judge McNulty keeps a full docket of civil and criminal cases. He carefully manages his court schedule to minimize waiting time for defendants, witnesses, and victims, and attorneys. He is respected by other judges and is a genuine leader. As chief judge he is the chief administrative officer of the First Judicial District. Under Judge McNulty’s management, the First Judicial District has functioned smoothly even though the Court is short five judges because of fiscal limitations.