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Fay, Justin 2022 Evaluation


Sixth Judicial District - Archuleta County Court Judge

Honorable Justin P. Fay

Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard

The Sixth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously (9-0) agrees that Archuleta County Court Judge Justin P. Fay 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 Fay presides over the Archuleta County Court docket comprised of approximately 10% criminal cases, 30% misdemeanor cases, 35% traffic cases, and 15% civil cases, and 10% small claims cases. In the Commission’s overall evaluation, Judge Fay clearly meets or exceeds each of the performance standards (Case Management, Application and Knowledge of Law, Communications, Diligence, Demeanor, and Fairness). The attorneys who responded to the survey support this finding; Judge Fay scored above the average for county judges in every measure in every area, with the sole exceptions being slightly below average in Application and Knowledge of Law, and Communications. Attorneys responding to the survey gave Judge Fay particularly high scores, exceeding those of the average County Court Judge for every performance standards. One attorney commented that “Judge Fay is a model of judicial temperament.”  The non-attorneys who responded to the survey also supported Judge Fay. In Diligence, they rated him higher than the average county judge. In Case Management, Application and Knowledge of Law, Communications, and Fairness, Judge Fay scored slightly below. The non-attorney response rate was low and comments were not detailed, which did not allow the Commission to understand the lower rating. In the Commission’s interviews with representatives from the Public Defender’s and District Attorney’s offices, a similar theme emerged, that Judge Fay consistently exceeded the performance standards. Specifically, the Commission heard that Judge Fay was fair, thoughtful, in control of his courtroom, good at managing his docket, and a good communicator. Finally, the Commission noted Judge Fay’s even-tempered demeanor on the bench while observing and practicing in front of him. Our observations corroborated the survey results. Based on these findings the Commission unanimously agrees that Judge Fay meets judicial performance standards.

The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Fay, reviewed opinions he authored, observed him in court, reviewed comments received from interested parties during the evaluation, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had experience with Judge Fay. Among the survey questions was “do you think Judge Fay meets judicial performance standards?” Of the nineteen attorneys responding to the survey, 100% answered, “Yes, meets performance standards,” and 0% answered “No, does not meet performance standards”. Of the seventeen non-attorneys responding to the survey, 73% answered “Yes, meets performance standards,” 20% answered “No, does not meet performance standards,” and 7% had no opinion.

Judge Fay was appointed to the bench in Archuleta County on September 20, 2016. For the decade prior, Judge Fay served as a Deputy District Attorney in the Sixth Judicial District in Durango. As a Deputy District Attorney, Judge Fay handled a District Court Docket and supervised attorneys appearing in County Court. Judge Fay graduated from Niwot High School (Diploma 1999), Colorado State University (B.S. Business Administration 2003), and University of Tulsa College of Law (J.D. 2005) and attended the University of Pittsburgh /Semester at Sea (Spring 2002), Stetson University College of Law (Summer 2004), and University of Denver Sturm College of Law (Fall 2005). Judge Fay lives in Pagosa Springs with his wife and three children and enjoys reading memoirs, playing ice hockey, cooking, and riding motorcycles.

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