Fifth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Wayne Patton
Retention Year: 2016
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Fifth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Wayne Patton BE RETAINED, with eight members voting for retention, one member voting against retention and one member absent.
This is Judge Patton’s first retention review since being appointed to the District Court on July 1, 2013. After service in the U.S. Army, Judge Patton received a bachelor’s degree from Denison University in 1980 and a degree from the University Of Denver College Of Law in 1983. He was in private practice in Pueblo until 1990 and then moved to Leadville, where in addition to a private practice, he served as Leadville City Attorney and Special County Attorney for Lake County. He was appointed the part-time Lake County Court Judge in 2001, and in addition served as a County Court Magistrate for Eagle and Summit Counties from 2007 until 2013. Judge Patton is an assistant games manager for the Leadville Rod & Gun Club and helps with the Club’s road clean up. He retired from volunteering with Lake County Search and Rescue when he could no longer respond because of work duties.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Patton, received opinions authored from court records, observed him in court, and reviewed surveys sent to attorneys and non-attorneys. Of the 14 attorneys who completed the survey 100% recommended to retain. Thirty-six non-attorneys completed surveys and 85% of those recommended Judge Patton be retained. The Commission met with and received input from the offices of the Chief District Judge, District Attorney Office, Public Defender, and Law Enforcement.
Judge Patton has the heaviest district court caseload presiding over District Courts in both Clear Creek and Lake Counties. He has been described as being fair using good communication skills, and runs the courtroom in an efficient manner. Judge Patton’s approachable demeanor is certainly a strength. However, the transition to the District Court has highlighted some weaknesses. Now responsible for knowing more than primarily criminal cases, he has therefore had to expand his knowledge of the law. Judge Patton acknowledges weaknesses as a trial judge and is working on making more sound evidentiary rulings. Because of this weakness, the Commission is recommending that Judge Patton be placed on an improvement plan to address his “Legal Knowledge”.