Seventeenth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Jeffrey Smith
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
Seventeenth Judicial District
District Court Judge
Honorable Jeffrey Smith
The Seventeenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously agrees Judge Jeffrey Smith MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS, by a vote of 9 – 0. The Colorado statutory judicial performance standards are integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and the public.
Judge Smith was appointed on May 31, 2019. He began his appointment with a 100% domestic relations docket, then moved to a rotating docket: 50% domestic relations and 50% civil, from August 2020 to January 2022. In January 2022, he rotated to a 100% criminal docket. Judge Smith received a 96% rating among attorneys for meeting performance standards. He also received high marks on Case Management, Application and Knowledge of Law, Communications, Diligence, Demeanor and Fairness. He received a 4.0 from the survey of appellate judges. Some of Judge Smith’s strengths from the survey results were “very patient and smart”, “fair and prompt”, “very kind to everyone in the courtroom”, “great attitude and very efficient!”, “Judge Smith has started his criminal rotation with a mindset of fairness and equality for both sides”. One weakness was his “lack of criminal experience” as criminal law was not a major part of Judge Smith’s law practice before his appointment as a judge. During Judge Smith’s interview, he recognized that he was unfamiliar with criminal law but had prepared, before his rotation, by researching the criminal procedural code, and talking with individuals in the probation department, drug court and specialty court. Judge Smith also recognized that sentencing was a difficult task as part of a criminal docket but aims to be fair in that responsibility. Judge Smith has done an excellent job with Case Management in the criminal division where there is a very heavy caseload.
The Commission conducted an in-person interview with Judge Smith, observed him in court via WebEx and in person, and reviewed judicial performance data, several of his written opinions and orders and his self-evaluation. The Commission also interviewed the district attorney and head of the public defender’s office for the district. Judge Smith was appreciative of the Judicial Performance Commission’s role and was eager to receive input from the Commission for the areas in which he is doing well and areas where the Commission believes he can do better.
Judge Smith received his undergraduate degree from the University of California Los Angeles in 1992, and his law degree from the University of Colorado Law School in 1999. He began his legal career as a law clerk for a federal judge in Colorado and practiced mostly civil litigation for nearly twenty years before his appointment to the Bench. He worked at a large law firm as well as his own firm which he co-founded in 2011.