Second Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Lisa C. Arnolds
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Second Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance agrees by a vote of 9-0, with one Commissioner absent from voting, that Judge Lisa C. Arnolds MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS. The Colorado statutory judicial performance standards are integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and the public.
Judge Arnolds has presided over both civil and criminal dockets and is currently overseeing Denver’s Problem Solving Courts in the criminal division. Judge Arnolds meets all aspects of the judicial performance criteria and writes and communicates in a clear, concise, and well-reasoned manner. Judge Arnolds’ strengths, as described in survey results, include her fairness, good judicial demeanor, and compassion. Based on cases open as of April 2022, Judge Arnolds meets the court benchmark for completing 90% of criminal cases within 12 months. The Commission did not identify any evaluation category in which Judge Arnolds displayed a notable weakness.
The Commission met with the Chief Judge of Denver District Court regarding Judge Arnolds’ performance, as well as with members of the District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office and Probation Department. The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Arnolds and observed her during court proceedings. It also reviewed opinions she authored, comments received from interested parties during the evaluation, recordings from her courtroom, case management data, and judicial performance survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys that interacted with her. The surveys reflected personal opinions of Judge Arnolds’ Case Management, Application and Knowledge of the Law, Communications, Diligence, Demeanor, and Fairness. Of the 35 attorneys and 23 non-attorneys who completed the survey and reported they had sufficient knowledge of Judge Arnolds’ performance to evaluate her, 88% of the attorneys and 72% of the non-attorneys believe that Judge Arnolds met performance standards. Judge Arnolds received scores above the average for all district court judges in every category. Judge Arnolds received a rating significantly below the statewide average for district court judges from the one appellate judge who reviewed her performance. While the Commission used these survey results in its evaluation, this evaluation tool was used in conjunction with several others to evaluate Judge Arnolds’ performance. All data reviewed by the Commission supports the recommendation that Judge Arnolds be retained
Governor Polis appointed Judge Arnolds in December 2019. She earned her undergraduate degree from Seattle University and her law degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Prior to her appointment, she was a Supervising Attorney in the Denver Trial Office of the Colorado State Public Defender. Judge Arnolds has been involved in addressing the mental health crisis in the criminal justice system and in the community.