First Judicial District - Jefferson County Judge
Honorable Harold Sargent
Retention Year: 2020
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The First Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously agrees by a vote of 10-0 that Judge Harold Sargent MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
During the performance evaluation period, Judge Sargent largely presided over misdemeanor and traffic cases, accounting for 80 percent of his caseload, with criminal and civil cases accounting for the remainder. Judge Sargent’s performance scores are consistent with his peers, earning a B overall on judicial performance surveys. Most survey comments describe Judge Sargent as fair, impartial, patient, smart, and hard-working. Survey respondents generally felt that Judge Sargent gave equal time to each party, describing him as an active listener. Survey comments reveal that he is respectful and compassionate toward all parties in his courtroom. While Judge Sargent is one of the top-performing judges in the District, a few survey respondents were critical of his courtroom demeanor. Some respondents felt that Judge Sargent’s courtroom banter and jokes diminished the dignity and decorum of the judicial process.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Sargent, reviewed orders he authored, observed him in court, interviewed interested parties, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who appeared before him. Survey respondents were asked whether Judge Sargent met judicial performance standards based on responses to the judicial performance criteria questions. Of the thirty attorney evaluations used in the survey, 78 percent answered yes, meets performance standards; 11 percent answered no, does not meet performance standards; and 11 percent had no opinion. As compared to his peers, Judge Sargent ranked only slightly below, with 83 percent of his peers meeting performance standards. With regard to non-attorney survey responses, Judge Sargent received three responses for the 2020 evaluation cycle. Of the three non-attorney evaluations, 100 percent answered yes, meets performance standards. In 2019, Judge Sargent received 97 non-attorney survey responses with 89 percent reporting that Judge Sargent met performance standards. In courtroom observations conducted by Commission members, Judge Sargent appeared well prepared, offered clear explanations of procedures and decisions, and worked hard to maintain a smooth and efficient schedule.
Judge Sargent was appointed as a county court judge to the First Judicial District of Colorado in 2017. Prior to his appointment, Judge Sargent was Chief Deputy District Attorney in the First Judicial District. In addition to practicing law, he supervised lawyers in the Juvenile Mental Health Court, Veterans Treatment Court, and Adult Mental Health Court. Before being named Chief Deputy District Attorney in 1999, Judge Sargent was a Deputy District Attorney in the First Judicial District from 1984 to 1999. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from the University of Denver. Judge Sargent further serves his community by volunteering his time with Jeffco mock trial and 4H.