Thirteenth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Stephanie M. G. Gagliano
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance agrees (7-1), with one member absent and one vacancy) that Judge Stephanie M.G. Gagliano 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 Gagliano has been serving as a District Court Judge in this judicial district since July of 2019. She presided over criminal, domestic relations, civil, juvenile, probate, and some mental health cases during this term. Judge Gagliano’s first term has been marked by significant change and a steep learning curve. For the first two-and-a-half years, she presided over Division E, which required her to travel a large geographic area (Sedgwick, Phillips, Yuma, and Kit Carson Counties). In January 2022, she took over Division A in Logan County. This change has been a good one for Judge Gagliano. It has increased stability, eliminated lost time traveling between courthouses, and reduced her isolation from other judges. It has also provided opportunities for her to seek support and mentorship from colleagues housed in the same building. Judge Gagliano did not have a dedicated clerk for the first part of her term; this has since been resolved. These structural challenges, while not the fault of Judge Gagliano, were of concern to the Commission when interim evaluations were conducted in 2021. It appears that these structural challenges have since resolved and that Judge Gagliano now has the resources available to her to be successful. This has afforded Judge Gagliano more time to work on strengthening her knowledge of criminal law and procedure, an area that was identified as needing improvement during interim evaluations. The Commission has noted significant improvement since this concern was identified in interim evaluations. That said, continued development is needed. The Commission is satisfied that Judge Gagliano has the motivation, drive, ability, and resources needed to continue to improve her performance in this area and is hopeful that her confidence will improve as her proficiency in criminal law and procedure improves.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Gagliano, reviewed a sampling of her written rulings, observed her in court, and reviewed comments and responses from a survey of individuals familiar with her. Of those who completed the survey, 15 attorney and 17 non-attorney respondents indicated that they had worked with Judge Gagliano enough to evaluate her performance. Judge Gagliano scored slightly lower than the statewide average for all District Court judges in almost every category assessed. This is consistent with the Commission’s observations of Judge Gagliano’s performance. Based upon the Commission’s overall evaluation, Judge Gagliano has demonstrated that she meets performance standards in all categories (integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and public).
Prior to taking the bench, Judge Gagliano was an attorney in private practice, appearing mostly within the 13th Judicial District.