Colorado Court of Appeals
Honorable Diane Terry
Retention Year: 2016
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The State Commission on Judicial Performance recommends by a vote of 8 to 0, with two recusals, that Judge Diana Terry BE RETAINED.
Judge Terry became a judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals on July 5, 2006. Prior to her appointment, Judge Terry was in private practice where she focused on complex commercial litigation, including intellectual property, computer technology, real estate litigation, and insurance coverage litigation. Judge Terry earned her B.A. degree from Rutgers College in 1979 and her law degree from Rutgers University School of Law in 1984. Judge Terry is a member of a number of professional organizations and is a Fellow of the American Bar Association, the Colorado Bar Association, and the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center. She is a frequent continuing legal education presenter and serves as faculty for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Judge Terry received the annual Judicial Award from the Colorado Women’s Bar Association in 2013. She has been appointed by Chief Judge Loeb to train and mentor new Court of Appeals judges and serves as Chair of the Probate Rules Committee.
The Commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Terry, read opinions that she authored and her self-evaluation, observed her in court, and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and judges regarding her performance. Survey participants were asked “How strongly do you recommend that Judge Terry be retained in office?” Of attorneys completing the survey and responding to this question, 71% recommended to retain, 22% not to retain, and 6% made no recommendation regarding retention. Of judges completing the survey responding to this question, 100% recommended to retain.
Judge Terry’s overall attorney survey score was lower than the average of the Court of Appeals judges up for retention this year. In the attorney survey, Judge Terry scored higher in treating parties equally regardless of race, sex, or economic status, but scored lower in being fair and impartial toward each side of the case and being courteous toward attorneys. A number of attorneys commented negatively on her demeanor during oral arguments, but the Commission found Judge Terry to be courteous, professional, and business-like at oral argument. Judge Terry also received relatively lower marks from attorneys regarding her writing skills. Writing opinions that adequately explain the basis of the Court’s decision and refraining from reaching issues that need not be decided were rated less positively than the Court of Appeals’ average. However, when Commission members read a selection of Judge Terry’s opinions, they found them to be clear and thorough. Additionally, survey responses of district and other appellate judges tended to rate Judge Terry about the same as the Court of Appeals’ average. Strengths include writing opinions that are clear, adequately explaining the basis of the Court’s decisions, and reaching reasoned decisions based upon the law and facts. The Commission recognizes that Judge Terry is making important contributions to the Court of Appeals.