Seventeenth Judicial District - Adams County Court Judge
Honorable Robert J. Steinborn
Retention Year: 1994
Recommendation: Do Not Retain
Judge Steinborn received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame in 1973, and his law degree from the University of Miami (Fla.) in 1976. He was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1976. Judge Steinborn was a Deputy District Attorney in Adams County from January 1977 until August 1984 when he was appointed to the Adams County Court.
Judge Steinborn’s County Court docket includes criminal, traffic, misdemeanor, felony and civil cases. According to his self-assessment, his strengths include his legal knowledge and his understanding of what people to him and what a lot of people try to say to him. His goals for personal development include improving his ability to communicate in a more diplomatic manner. Written comments on the questionnaires completed by attorneys, law enforcement officers and court personnel were extensive and overwhelmingly negative. Even those evaluators who mentioned such positive attributes as Judge Steinborn’s knowledge of the law often had something unfavorable to say about him. The negative comments ranged from restrained criticism to expression of outrage, with the majority reflecting undisguised disapproval. Typical of the comments were those which described him as rude, arrogant, lacking in people skills, having a chip on his shoulder, unprofessional and overbearing. Sixty-five percent of those who expressed an opinion on his retention indicated he should not be retained.
During his interview with the Commission, Judge Steinborn commented at length on his awareness of his faults and his efforts since the last retention review, four years ago, to change his approach. He believes his knowledge of the law is outstanding – and from all indications, it is. However, he acknowledged that his courtroom demeanor continues to be a serious problem.
In formulating its recommendation the Commission considered Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which reads, in part: “A judge should be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom a judge deals in his or her official capacity.”
The Commission recommends that Judge Steinborn NOT BE RETAINED.