Fourteenth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Mary C. Hoak
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Fourteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously agrees by a vote of 7-0 that Judge Mary C. Hoak 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 Hoak presides over all Grand County District Court matters, all probate matters in the 14th Judicial District, all Routt County domestic relations cases, and other matters throughout the 14th Judicial District as needed. Judge Hoak’s demeanor is described as being generally fair and compassionate. Judge Hoak is described as being very knowledgeable of the law, diligent, and focused. She has embraced the virtual courtroom throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Hoak’s written decisions are clear, concise, and well researched. Judge Hoak’s caseload is greater than a full-time position. Judge Hoak strives to be fair to all parties and ensure that all applicable parties are heard in her courtroom. Judge Hoak appears very passionate about her work, cases, and the people she serves. Commission members observed these qualities during their evaluations and interviews. Based on these findings, the Commission unanimously agreed that Judge Mary Hoak meets performance standards.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Hoak, reviewed opinions written by her, observed her in court, and reviewed survey responses from both attorneys and non-attorneys who had interaction in Judge Hoak’s court. While Judge Hoak’s survey results, which may be skewed by the low number of returns, did point to a general decline in measured values, the Commission believes that Judge Hoak takes feedback very seriously and has always been dedicated to improve in areas of concern. Specifically, during her interview with the Commission, Judge Hoak freely accepted responsibility for improving her performance without prompting by the Commission. Based on observations, the primary concern of note by the Commission is Judge Hoak’s manner of rapid speech and movement through the docket. While this does not appear to affect courtroom management, it may be intimidating to some parties or lead to confusion as to what is or what will be occurring in the case at hand. The issue regarding her quick speech was virtually universally recognized throughout survey responses of both attorneys and the general public.
Judge Mary Hoak was appointed to County Court in 2002, and District Court in 2007. Prior to her appointment to County Judge, she practiced law in Grand County for 8 years. Additionally, Judge Hoak worked as a prosecutor in Colorado’s Fifth Judicial District. She earned her undergraduate degree from Vassar College and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School.