Second Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Richard T. Spriggs
Retention Year: 1990
Judicial Performance Commission’s recommendation: Should Be Retained.
Judge Spriggs was admitted to practice law in Colorado in October 1961. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University in 1958 and a law degree from Cornell University in 1961. His first work as a lawyer was from 1961 to 1963 handling corporate, banking and real estate matters with Hodges and Harrington in Denver. In 1963 he became an assistant district attorney in Adams County. From 1965 to 1968 he was an assistant U.S. attorney in Denver handling civil and criminal matters in federal court. From 1968 to 1971 as a special U.S. attorney, he headed a federal strike force against organized crime in Philadelphia. He returned to Colorado in 1971 and for two years, under the Colorado attorney general office, established an organized crime investigation unit. From 1973 to 1976, he was with the Denver firm of Zarlengo, Mott and Carlin, handling civil trials.
He served as a special prosecutor for both the Colorado attorney general and Denver district attorney in 1974 and 1975. Spriggs was a deputy district attorney in Denver from 1976 to 1983. He was a partner in the Denver firm of Ozer, Spriggs and Trueax, handling civil trials, from 1985 to 1986, and for three years before his appointment to the bench, he again served in the Denver district attorney’s office.
His first assignment in the Denver District Court for 1 ½ years was in the domestic-relations division. Since January 1990, he has been with the criminal division.
As a domestic relations judge, he was assigned a huge caseload of domestic cases involving child custody and visitation rights, determination of property rights and maintenance payments of divorced persons. He took firm control of the management of his caseload and cut down delays in the handling of the massive load of domestic cases. He tightened up unwarranted postponements. He displayed a decisive manner as well as understanding and compassion in delaying with the emotion-packed problems of separated parents. In his steps at better case management, he stepped on the toes of some lawyers practicing family law, but his reviews by those lawyers appearing before him were far more favorable than unfavorable.
Since January 1990, he is back in the criminal arena where he spent the largest part of his successful years as a trial lawyer. The commission is impressed with Spriggs’ industry, his case management techniques, his devotion to the job of being a judge, his 27 years of extensive experience as a lawyer before becoming a judge and his overall qualifications.
The questionnaire response from lawyers, litigants, jurors, staff and law enforcement personnel gave Spriggs generally high marks in the numerous categories of rating. These responses confirm he is free of racial or sexual prejudice or favoritism to any group, that he is a diligent, hard-working judge who acts decisively, maintains courtroom control and is punctual. His ratings on courtesy to those lawyers who responded, however, is lower than other areas. The litigants who responded to the questionnaire gave Spriggs very high marks in all categories. All groups favored his retention as a judge by a firm margin.