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Schapanski, Stephen 2010 Evaluation


Eighth Judicial District - District Court Judge 

Honorable Stephen J. Schapanski

Retention Year: 2010
Recommendation: Retain

The Eighth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends by a vote of 9 to 0, with one Commissioner recusing, that Chief Judge Stephen J. Schapanski BE RETAINED.

Judge Schapanski received his law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1974. He has been the recipient of the following awards and honors: Conrad L. Ball Award 2008, Colorado Judicial Institutes Judicial Excellence Award 2005, Governor’s Community Corrections Advisory Council Distinguished Service Award 2002, Outstanding Jurist Award 1995 and 1999. Judge Schapanski’s service and volunteer work includes the following: Chairperson of the Colorado Supreme Court Standing Committee on Family Issues since 2009, member of Colorado Court Improvement Committee since 2000, member of Colorado Office of Dispute Resolution Advisory Committee from 2000 to 2007, member of the Larimer County Community Corrections Advisory Board since 1975, with 17 of those years as chairperson, member of the Eighth Judicial District Services Planning Committee since 2009, and trial judge for numerous high school mock trials.

Judge Schapanski was appointed to the District Court in 2007. His docket includes criminal, civil, probate, domestic relations, juvenile matters and all appeals of magistrate’s orders. Judge Schapanski spends approximately twenty percent of his time on duties as Chief Judge. Prior to appointment, he served as District Court Magistrate in Larimer County from 1993 to 2007. Judge Schapanski had a private law practice in Fort Collins, Colorado, from 1974 to1993.

The Commission found that Judge Schapanski is committed to his job. He has a strong desire to make the system work properly. Judge Schapanski presents an outstanding demeanor, gives the legal process a sense of dignity, and is very diligent in his overall
performance. The Commission is impressed with Judge Schapanski’s proficiency and his efficient case management. Attorneys who responded to the survey questions rated Judge Schapanski above average for case management, knowledge of the law, communication, demeanor and diligence. The Commission reviewed a variety of Judge Schapanski’s opinions and concluded they were clear, concise and well written. Attorneys and non-attorneys found that Judge Schapanski manages his caseload efficiently and performs his duties as Chief Judge effectively. Judge Schapanski received strong support from attorneys and non-attorneys.

Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 100% recommended Judge Schapanski be retained. Of all non-attorneys surveyed, 80% recommended retention, 14% recommended not to retain, and 7% expressed no opinion. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)