Tenth Judicial District - Pueblo County Court Judge
Honorable Ernest J. Ruybalid
Retention Year: 2004
The Tenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Ernest J. Ruybalid BE RETAINED.
Judge Ruybalid was appointed to the Pueblo County Court on February 19, 1997. He received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1979. Prior to his appointment, Judge Ruybalid's general practice consisted of a wide variety of cases. He served as Assistant County Attorney in Pueblo and Custer Counties and Assistant City Attorney in Pueblo.
Throughout Judge Ruybalid's professional career, he has been a member of the Colorado Bar Association and was a member of the Pueblo Hispanic Bar Association where he served as President from 1995 – 1996. Judge Ruybalid's community involvement has included serving on the board of Dreamweavers and the Greenway Nature Center. Judge Ruybalid currently serves as a mentor and speaker at Minnequa Elementary School.
The Commission reviewed written evaluations of Judge Ruybalid from attorneys and non-attorneys. The Commission conducted personal interviews with people who interact with Judge Ruybalid on a routine basis. The Commission also considered a written self-evaluation completed by Judge Ruybalid and conducted a personal interview with Judge Ruybalid.
Judge Ruybalid received high ratings in several categories, particularly in the areas of being fair and treating people with respect. His professional demeanor, especially with jurors, is exemplary. The Commission was also informed that there has been significant improvement since the last time Judge Ruybalid was up for retention. Before the Commission, Judge Ruybalid indicated, in his personal interview with the Commission, that he has improved the docket load, and that one of his strengths is his ability to balance the heavy docket and to allow people to have their day in court.
The Commission would like to stress that there are some recurring issues and would suggest that Judge Ruybalid improve in these areas. Some of the recurring issues gathered from the surveys and interviews are as follows:
1. Judge Ruybalid has limited knowledge of the law, and his sentencing practices are not consistent.
2. Judge Ruybalid lacks the technological skills in the today’s work environment, therefore hindering him in his capacity as a County Judge.
3. Judge Ruybalid does not interact with the staff and does not help with the workload, thus giving the impression that he is not a team player.
4. Sometimes, Judge Ruybalid's orders are not well thought out, and he takes positions that do not make sense.
5. Judge Ruybalid's overall evaluations are below the rest of the Colorado County Judges who face retention in the next general election.
The Commission recommends that Judge Ruybalid continue to seek professional development opportunities that address the recurring issues and that will ultimately help make him a more effective jurist.
The issue of recommendation for retention was addressed by the Commission after review of all available information. Six members of the Commission voted to retain, three voted no recommendation. Verbatim comments were not recorded. Generally, those in favor of retention indicated the positive information received was stronger than the negative. All commissioners agreed with the recommendation for Judge Ruybalid to continue to seek professional development opportunities.