Nineteenth Judicial District - Weld County Judge
Honorable Dana Nichols
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Nineteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously (10-0) agrees that Judge Dana Nichols MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Judge Nichols was appointed to the Weld County Court in August 2007. Prior to appointment, Judge Nichols served as a Deputy Public Defender for nearly 10 years in Greeley, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and the Colorado State Appellate offices. She spent three years in private civil practice in Denver. Judge Nichols received her undergraduate degree in biological science from Colorado State University and obtained her law degree from the University of Colorado. Judge Nichols is past president of the County Court Judges Association and remains current in all areas of the law by attending the State Judicial Conferences and the Weld County Bar Association Nuts & Bolts Seminars. She serves as liaison for the 19th Judicial District to the Judicial Education Committee. She currently serves on the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee and the County Court Judges Weighted Caseload Study Committee. In addition, she authors articles for the Colorado DUI Benchbook each year. Her community service includes speaking at high school and college classes and assisting with the high school moot court competitions.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Nichols, reviewed opinions she had authored, observed her in court and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had experience with Judge Nichols. Among the survey questions was “based on your responses to the previous questions related to the performance evaluation criteria, do you believe Judge Nichols meets the judicial performance standards? Of the attorneys responding 82% answered yes, Judge Nichols meets performance standards, and 18% answered no, Judge Nichols does not meet performance standards. Of the non-attorneys answering the survey 80% answered yes, Judge Nichols meets performance standards, 9% answered no Judge Nichols does not meet performance standards and 11% had no opinion. A total of 11 attorneys and 57 non-attorneys responded to the survey expressing their opinion of Judge Nichols’s performance.
During this term, Judge Nichols has presided primarily over traffic and misdemeanor dockets with a small percentage of civil and criminal cases. Attorneys gave Judge Nichols high marks in case management, and communications and slightly lower marks for application and knowledge of law, demeanor, fairness and diligence. Non-attorneys gave Judge Nichols consistently high marks in all categories. Judge Nichols believes the courts should be accessible, fair, and humane for everyone who enters the judicial system and during her interview with the Commissioners, expressed her ideal wish was that everyone would be able to afford or have access to legal representation. Based on these findings the Commission unanimously agreed that Judge Nichols meets judicial performance standards.