Eighteenth Judicial District - Arapahoe County Court Judge
Honorable Kelly LaFave
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Eighteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance finds, by a vote of 6-2 (with two commissioners not participating), that Judge Kelly LaFave 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 LaFave handles a criminal docket in Arapahoe County (misdemeanor and traffic cases). Commination and case management are strong areas for Judge LaFave and her scores for diligence and fairness are largely favorable. A 2021 interim review for Judge LaFave showed that judicial temperament, demeanor, and case management were areas of concern. Judge LaFave expressed to the Commission personal events may have contributed to demeanor and performance issues and she committed to addressing these concerns. More recent feedback from stakeholders, survey scores, and the Commissions’ observations reflect that Judge LaFave has worked hard and shown strong improvement in all areas. The Commission expects that Judge LaFave will continue to work on these issues.
On April 28, 2022, the Judicial Performance Review Commission met with members of the District Attorney’s office, Public Defender’s Office, Probation Office, and the Chief Judge for feedback on Judge LaFave. A personal interview was held with the Commission. Commission Members also observed her in court and reviewed judicial performance survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys. Judge LaFave received reasonable marks in all surveyed areas, with an overall score of 3.2. The average score of all County Court Judges was a 3.4. The Commission notes that Judge LaFave’s scores improved over the interim evaluation. Among the survey questions was, "Based on your responses to the previous questions related to the performance evaluation criteria, do you think Judge LaFave meets judicial performance standards?" Of the attorneys responding to the survey, 63% answered yes, meets performance standards and 38% answered no, does not meet performance standards. Of the non- attorneys responding to the survey, 74% answered yes, meets performance standards and 11% answered no, does not meet performance standards. Forty- Seven individuals responded to the judicial performance surveys expressing their opinions of Judge LaFave’s performance. Based on these findings, the Commission agrees that Judge LaFave meets judicial performance standards.
Judge LaFave was appointed as an Arapahoe County Court judge in the Eighteenth Judicial District in May of 2016. Judge LaFave received her undergraduate degree in Economics from Arizona State University in 1988 and her law degree from Arizona State University in 1991. After clerking for a District Court Judge in Reno, Nevada, she became a Deputy County Attorney in Pima County Arizona. She was also a Special Agent for the FBI and a Deputy District Attorney in Denton County, Texas. Once in Colorado, she became a Senior Deputy District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District. She participates in the High School Mock Trial Competition for both Douglas and Arapahoe Counties and with Our Courts speaking with high school students about the judicial system and retention process. Judge LaFave is currently assigned to the County Court Criminal Division 306 at the Arapahoe County Courthouse.