Penny Jr., John 2004 Evaluation


Thirteenth Judicial District - Kit Carson County Court Judge

Honorable John Curtis Penny Jr. 

Retention Year: 2004
Recommendation: Retain

The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge John Curtis Penny, Jr. BE RETAINED by a unanimous vote of the six commission members.

Judge Penny was appointed to the Kit Carson County bench in October 1976. His current case load consists of civil, domestic relations, traffic, felony, criminal, misdemeanor and traffic infractions. Judge Penny also maintains a private practice in addition to being a part-time Judge.

The Commission reviewed 91 written evaluations of Judge Penny from attorneys and non-attorneys (jurors, defendants, plaintiffs, law enforcement, victims) who have appeared in his court the past two years. The commission also reviewed written comments attached to the evaluation forms, a self evaluation form completed by Judge Penney, as well as a personal interview.

Judge Penny is an excellent communicator as evidenced by attorney and non-attorney surveys. Respondents gave him higher marks than other Colorado county judges in "making sure all participants understand the proceedings and what's going on,” speaking clearly so all can hear. Attorneys also gave him higher marks on knowledge of the law, giving reason for rulings and setting reasonable schedules for cases and handling pro se people (not represented by an attorney). He needs to give attention to his demeanor relative to some parties in his court, especially those whose credibility may be in question, repeat offenders or those who are not prepared. His ratings by attorneys and non-attorneys were consistent with other county judges in Colorado being considered for retention this year.