Nineteenth Judicial District - Weld County Court Judge
Honorable Dana Nichols
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Nineteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance finds the Honorable Dana Nichols Meets Performance Standards. Seven members of the Commission voted that Judge Nichols met judicial performance standards, with three members absent. 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.
Commissioners had the opportunity to personally observe Judge Nichols, who presides over civil, criminal, misdemeanor, and traffic matters in Weld County Court. Judge Nichols general demeanor is described as respectful, patient, and cordial to all present in her courtroom both to non-attorneys and attorneys. Through her legal volunteer work and her role on the Colorado Criminal Rules of Procedure Committee, Judge Nichols remains current in law. She is concise, clearly understood, and demonstrates both compassion and consistent application of the law. She presents a clear understanding of legal knowledge but is sometimes challenged with docket management. Many commissioners commented that Judge Nichols is an extremely hard worker and would benefit from managing her court docket in a timely manner. The Commission agreed that Judge Nichols meets performance standards based on these findings.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Nichols; we reviewed the collected judicial survey responses from both attorneys and non-attorneys, reviewed opinions she authored, observed her in court, and reviewed her self-assessment. Based on the responses from attorneys when asked if Judge Nichols meets judicial performance standards, 90% of attorneys agreed she met the performance standards. And 75% of non-attorneys believed she met the performance standards.
Judge Nichols obtained her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law and has an undergraduate degree in biological science from Colorado State University. Judge Nichols was appointed to the County Court bench in 2007. She served as a Deputy Public Defender for nearly 10 years in the Greeley, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and the State Appellate offices. She also spent three years in private civil practice in Denver with the firm of Kennedy & Christopher, P.C. Judge Nichols currently serves on committees for the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Senior Judge Program. She is also a chapter author for the Colorado DUI Bench book. Judge Nichols is currently assigned to Division 9, hearing all types of county court cases, including civil disputes, domestic violence, and DUI cases.