Colorado Court of Appeals
Honorable Robert M. Russel
Retention Year: 2006
The State Commission on Judicial Performance recommends by a vote of 10 to 0 that Judge Robert M. Russel BE RETAINED.
Background: Judge Russel was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals in 2004. He graduated from Alameda High School in Lakewood, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Colorado Law School.
Before his appointment to the Court, Judge Russel served as Chief of the United States Attorney's Appellate Division (2002-2004) and was with the Colorado Attorney General (1987-2002), including 12 years as head of the criminal appeals section. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at both the University of Colorado and University of Denver law schools. Previously, he taught music and English at Kent Denver School for six years. He makes presentations to judges, lawyers, and students about substantive areas of law and the judicial system, and his community interests include Forest Heights Lodge, a residential treatment facility for emotionally disturbed boys.
Strengths: Attorneys who responded to survey questions rated Judge Russel above the survey average for: (1) writing opinions that are clear and (2) writing decisions that adequately explain the basis of the Court's decision. Attorneys commented that Judge Russel is conscientious, fair, prepared, and asks questions at oral argument in a neutral, courteous manner.
The Commission also reviewed various opinions that Judge Russel wrote. His opinions and decisions tended to be well-reasoned, clearly written, faithful to the Constitution, statutes, and case precedents, and generally outstanding.
Weaknesses: Judge Russel is working to improve his understanding of the law governing domestic relations, workers' compensation, unemployment compensation, and real estate.
Recommendation: 85% of attorneys surveyed and 91% of judges surveyed strongly recommended that Judge Russel be retained in office. Overall, 96% of attorneys and 97% of judges supported his retention.
The Commission unanimously recommends that Judge Russel be retained.