Twenty-First Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Valerie J. Robison
Retention Year: 2016
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Twenty-First Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance by a vote of 8 to 2 recommends that Judge Valerie J. Robison BE RETAINED and further recommends that Judge Robison be placed on a Performance Improvement Plan.
Judge Robison was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She attended the University of Colorado, graduating with a B.A. in 1986, and received her law degree from the University of Denver in 1991. Judge Robison was appointed as a District Court Judge on June 14, 2007. In addition to her duties on the bench, Judge Robison appropriately participates in community service. She previously worked as Mesa County Assistant Attorney and Interim Executive Director for the Mesa County Department of Human Services.
Judge Robison was evaluated using information from the following sources: attorney surveys; direct information provided by the District Attorney’s Office; non-attorney surveys; Judge Robison’s self-evaluation; courtroom observations by the members of the Commission; review of written decisions issued by Judge Robison; and an interview with Judge Robison by the Commission. From completed surveys fifty-nine percent of attorneys and 91% percent of non-attorneys recommended that Judge Robison be retained in office. Twenty-nine percent of attorneys and 4% of non-attorneys recommended that Judge Robison not be retained. Attorneys graded Judge Robison’s overall performance as below the average of other district court judges statewide. Of particular concern to the attorneys was Judge Robison’s case management, including the issuance of timely rulings and decisions and setting reasonable schedules for cases. Judge Robison was also rated lower than other district court judges in the State on the application and knowledge of the law. Judge Robison’s demeanor was rated higher than district court judges statewide by both attorneys and non-attorneys. Non-attorneys’ grades on Judge Robison’s fairness, diligence, and communication exceeded those of district court judges statewide.
Of concern to the Commission are Judge Robison’s low marks on case management and knowledge of the law. Weaknesses in these areas were also noted in Judge Robison’s Performance Review in 2010, and again in the Interim Review in 2013. Attorneys gave Judge Robison lower grades on making prompt rulings and sentencing decisions than she received in the Interim Review in 2013. Judge Robison’s performance shows little improvement despite her 2010 plan to address areas of weakness and feedback provided in the Interim Review. In her interview with the Commission, Judge Robison lacked insight about these weaknesses identified by attorneys and had not developed a plan to address them. The Commission commends Judge Robison for her demeanor in the courtroom, compassion for litigants and thoughtful manner of dealing with those whom appear before her. However, due to her continued weaknesses in the areas described above, this Commission has recommended that Judge Robison be placed on a Performance Improvement Plan to address these substantive issues that have been previously identified and not satisfactorily addressed.