Fifth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Paul R. Dunkelman
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Fifth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance by a unanimous vote of 10-0 vote recommends that District Judge Paul R. Dunkelman 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 Dunkelman was appointed to the District Court bench in December 2013. He was appointed as Chief Judge of the Fifth Judicial District in October 2021 on an interim basis and in February 2022 on permanent basis. Judge Dunkelman presided over a mixed docket of felony criminal, civil, domestic relations, mental health, and juvenile delinquency cases this term. Based on the Commission’s overall evaluation, Judge Dunkelman has demonstrated he meets or exceeds performance standards in all categories. Judge Dunkelman received consistently positive reviews in his surveys from attorneys and non-attorneys. Judge Dunkelman is held in high regard by the Commission, as well as the attorneys and non-attorneys that appear before him. He is proud to serve, enjoys his work and strives to improve his performance by participating in continuing legal education and keeping current with changes in the laws. He has created programs focused on educating other judges and is engaged in his local community and bar associations. The Commission notes that Judge Dunkelman routinely reflects on his real-world experiences to grow as a judge. He acclimated quickly in his new role as chief judge to preserve the administration of justice and is taking strides to elevate the bench as a whole in the Fifth Judicial District. The Commission finds his writing and decisions easy to read, concise, and exceptionally well-written.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with the Judge, reviewed opinions he wrote, observed him in court, looked at a case management report, interviewed the Public Defender, District Attorney, and law enforcement and considered surveys sent to attorneys and non-attorneys in 2021-2022. Of attorneys who completed the survey, 96% found he meets performance standards, and 4% had no opinion. Of non-attorneys completing the survey, 86% found he meets performance standards and 14% found he did not.
Prior to his appointment, Judge Dunkelman worked in private practice for twenty years, most recently with the law firm of Carlson, Carlson & Dunkelman, LLC in Frisco, Colorado, where his practice focused primarily on family law, criminal law, and civil litigation. Judge Dunkelman has been an active member of his community serving on the board of directors of many local non-profit agencies. He has been on the Board for the Mountain Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association since 2020. Judge Dunkelman received the Judicial Excellence Award from the Colorado Judicial Institute in 2021. Judge Dunkelman earned a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Colgate University in 1988 and a J.D. from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver in 1993.