Second Judicial District - Juvenile Court Judge
Honorable Laurie A. Clark
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Second Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously agrees by a vote of 9-0, with one Commissioner absent from voting, that Judge Laurie A. Clark 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 Clark presides a juvenile docket in Denver Juvenile Court. Judge Clark meets all aspects of the performance criteria and writes in a clear, concise, and well-reasoned manner. She is generally described as well-prepared, fair, kind, and patient in the courtroom. Commission members observed these qualities during their evaluation and interview. For the cases open on Judge Clark’s docket as of April 2022, Judge Clark met the Court’s benchmarks for completing 90% of juvenile adoption and permanency plan cases in 12 months, but did not meet the benchmarks for completing 95% of juvenile delinquency and dependency and neglect cases within required timeframes. The Commission did not identify any evaluation category in which Judge Clark displayed a notable weakness. The Commission recognizes Judge Clark’s commitment to applying the law in the context of the unique nature of the juvenile court, but encourages Judge Clark to explore additional avenues of communication to educate victims on the mandates of juvenile court.
The Commission met with the Presiding Judge of Denver Juvenile Court to discuss Judge Clark’s 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 Clark 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 on Judge Clark’s Case Management, Application and Knowledge of the Law, Communications, Diligence, Demeanor, and Fairness. Of the 20 attorneys and 10 non-attorneys who completed the survey and reported they had sufficient knowledge of Judge Clark’s performance to evaluate her, 44% of the attorneys and 56% of the non-attorneys believe that Judge Clark met performance standards. Judge Clark’s survey scores among both attorneys and non-attorneys are below the average for district court judges in the all categories. Judge Clark received scores slightly below the statewide average for all district court judges from the 13 appellate judges who evaluated her performance. While the Commission used these survey results in its evaluation, this evaluation tool was used in conjunction with several others to evaluate her performance. All data reviewed by the Commission supports that Judge Clark be retained.
Governor Hickenlooper appointed Judge Clark in November 2013. Judge Clark earned her undergraduate degree from Metropolitan State University and law degree from University of Denver. Before her appointment, she served as an Adams County magistrate judge. She was also in private practice, serving as a guardian ad litem, child legal representative, parenting coordinator/decision maker, and child and family investigator. Judge Clark is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver.