Second Judicial District - Denver County Judge
Honorable Barry A. Schwartz
Retention Year: 2020
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Second Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance finds that the Honorable Barry A. Schwartz MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS. Seven members of the Commission voted that Judge Schwartz met judicial performance standards, while the other three members voted that he did not meet judicial performance standards.
After meeting with Judge Schwartz, and after reviewing his work, and after assessing feedback from attorneys and non-attorneys, the Commission was divided as to whether he meets judicial performance standards. Judge Schwartz is a new judge, the Commission had previously notified Judge Schwartz of concerns that he exhibits a bias in favor of parties who represent themselves, concerns about his application of the law, and concerns about inconsistent application of laws and rules. At the Commission’s request, Judge Schwartz recently started an improvement plan and has taken steps to improve as a Judge. But the Commission was divided over whether the proactive steps Judge Schwartz has taken to address and correct the behavior were sufficient. Based on all the aforementioned considerations, the Judicial Performance Commission encourages Judge Schwartz to continue with his performance plan and finds that Judge Schwartz meets performance standards.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Schwartz, reviewed orders he authored, observed him in court in person before the COVID-19 pandemic and through recordings, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys who had experience with Judge Schwartz. Those surveyed were asked, “based on your responses to the previous questions related to the performance evaluation criteria, do you think Judge Schwartz meets judicial performance standards?” Of the 51 attorneys responding to the surveys, 68% believe that Judge Schwartz meets performance standards, 23% believe he does not meet performance standards, and 9% had no opinion. Judge Schwartz received ratings slightly below the statewide average among all County Court judges standing for retention with regard to the areas surveyed: (1) case management and (2) application and knowledge of law. Judge Schwartz received ratings slightly above the statewide average among all County Court judges standing for retention with regarding to the areas surveyed: (1) diligence, (2) demeanor, and (3) fairness. Of the 29 non-attorneys responding to the survey, 95% believe Judge Schwartz meets performance standards, 5% believe he does not.
Mayor Hancock appointed Judge Schwartz to the Denver County Court in 2017. Before his appointment, he was a senior attorney in the litigation section of the Denver City Attorney’s office. His professional experience also includes serving four years as an attorney in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Colorado and as an attorney in private practice. He earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Colorado and his Juris Doctor at the University of Denver. Judge Schwartz serves on the Colorado supreme court’s Board of Law Examiners and he volunteers at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and with the East High School We the People constitutional law team and speech and debate program.