Fifth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Reed W. Owens
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Fifth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance by a unanimous vote of (10-0) finds that District Judge Reed W. Owens 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 Owens was appointed in January 2019 and presides in the Eagle County District Court in Eagle, Colorado. Judge Owens’ docket comprises approximately 50% domestic relations, 40% criminal, and 10% civil matters. Starting in January 2022, Judge Owens’ docket changed and for the first time he assumed a criminal docket. Judge Owens also presides over the Recovery Courts in both Eagle and Summit County, which are alternative sentencing programs aimed at providing an opportunity for criminal defendants to pursue long-term sobriety in lieu of long-term incarceration. The Commission finds that Judge Owens has performed strongly during this past term in the following judicial performance criteria: integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, and judicial temperament. The Commission did not find any notable weak performance with respect to any of the judicial performance criteria. During its interim evaluation in 2021, the Commission made a small number of relatively minor recommendations to Judge Owens to assist him in improving his performance, all of which Judge Owens has worked to address. Overall, the Commission believes that while relatively new to the bench, Judge Owens’ performance is strong and generally beyond his years of experience as a judge. The Commission encourages Judge Owens to continue to pursue opportunities for mentoring and continuing legal education.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with the Judge, reviewed a self-evaluation, opinions, and court orders he wrote, observed him in court, reviewed a case management report, received input from the Chief Judge, interviewed other District stakeholders, and considered surveys sent to attorneys and non-attorneys. Judge Owens meets all judicial performance requirements and comments received were consistently positive. The Commission finds that Judge Owens meets performance standards in all its performance criteria areas. 97% of 31 attorneys and 84% of the 28 non-attorneys with sufficient knowledge responding to the survey concluded that Judge Owens meets performance standards. His survey results in all categories and overall, are generally slightly higher than the averages of other District Court judges in Colorado. The Commission believes that Judge Owens showed great aptitude initially stepping into a predominantly civil and domestic relations docket which differed from his criminal background. Judge Owens is perceived as being measured, compassionate, empathetic, understanding, and treats parties with dignity and concern for their circumstances. Judge Owens is valued by both attorneys and non-attorneys for his integrity and even-keeled judicial temperament on the bench and his overall fairness.
Judge Owens was born and raised in Alaska. He received his undergraduate degree from Colorado College and his law degree from Denver University Sturm College of Law. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was a Deputy Public Defender for the Colorado Public Defender’s Office. Judge Owens is involved in the community, serving on boards such as the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, coaching youth soccer and baseball. Judge Owens enjoys outdoor opportunities and spending time with his family.