Seventeenth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Jill-Ellyn Straus
Retention Year: 2010
The Seventeenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Jill-Ellyn Straus BE RETAINED.
Judge Straus was appointed to the District Court in April of 2008 and was sworn in as a judge in July of 2008. Judge Straus received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in 1979. She graduated from the University of Denver, College of Law in June of 1982 and was admitted to the Bar in October of that same year. She had previously served in the Adams County District Attorney’s Office from 1983 until her retirement in May of 2008. During her time with the District Attorney she headed the Child Victim Unit and she still maintains a passion for children’s welfare. Judge Straus is an active supporter of the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect. She is also one of two elected State Judicial Representatives to the American Bar Association.
Judge Straus is currently serving in Juvenile Court and hopes to continue there because of her expertise with children’s legal issues. She believes that child welfare prior to a first appearance is a priority. Prior to serving in Juvenile Court, Judge Straus served in Domestic Relations Court where her ability to treat people with dignity and to make technical legal concepts understandable for people who have little legal experience made them feel welcome and comfortable in presenting their cases.
In this regard, Judge Jill-Ellyn Straus has been found by the Commission to be an asset and a great addition to the Seventeenth Judicial District bench. The Commission conducted extensive research in making this recommendation. Surveys were conducted anonymously of both the public and of attorneys appearing before the bench. These surveys focused on her performance ranging over a broad area of concerns including demeanor, integrity, and ability to manage her courtroom. The Commission conducted an extensive interview with Judge Jill-Ellyn Straus, considered a written self review, read a number of decisions rendered by Judge Jill-Ellyn Straus, reviewed case processing statistics for workload and timeliness, and conducted several personal observations of the judge working in her courtroom. The Commission found Judge Straus to be an impressive judge with a good knowledge of the law and ability to apply the law to the facts. She has an empathetic yet firm demeanor in the courtroom and brings a wealth of life experience and common sense to the bench. In reviewing the survey results submitted concerning Judge Straus, attorneys graded her an overall average of 3.67 out of 4.0 and non-attorneys gave her an average grade of 3.12 resulting in a combined grade of 3.40. The average combined grade for all district judges during this period was 3.48. After careful and comprehensive review of the data and personal interview, the Commission found no areas of poor performance with Judge Straus.
Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 94% recommended to retain, 3% not to retain and 3% expressed no opinion. Excluding those who had no opinion, 97% recommended to retain and 3% not to retain. Of all non-attorneys surveyed about retention, 64% recommended to retain, 24% not to retain and 12% expressed no opinion. Excluding those who had no opinion, 72% recommended to retain and 28% not to retain. It is the Commission’s unanimous recommendation to retain Judge Jill-Ellyn Straus.