Nineteenth Judicial District - Weld County Judge
Honorable Charles S. Unfug
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Nineteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance agrees, by a vote of 8-2, that Judge Charles S. Unfug MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
Judge Unfug was appointed to the Weld County Court on December 19, 2002. Before that, he served as district court magistrate for five years. He graduated from Cornell University Law School in 1977. Prior to becoming a judge, he was in private practice for 20 years. Judge Unfug is the Treasurer of the Colorado County Judges Association and has served in that position for the past four years. He is a member of the Weld County Bar Association and the Byron White Inn of Court. For several years, he has sworn in new firefighters for districts in southern Weld County on graduation from the Fire Academy. He has been a member of the Lions Clubs International for more than 40 years, and a member of the Greeley Elks Lodge for more than 25 years.
The Commission conducted a personal interview of Judge Unfug, reviewed opinions he selected, observed him in court and reviewed survey responses from attorneys and non-attorneys. Among the survey questions was “based on your responses to the previous questions related to the performance evaluation criteria, do you think Judge Unfug meets the judicial performance standards? Of the attorneys responding 78% answered yes, and 22% answered no. A total of 21 attorneys responded to the survey. Of the non-attorneys responding 76% answered yes, 12% answered no, and 12% expressed no opinion. A total of 52 non-attorneys responded to the survey.
During the current term, Judge Unfug’s workload consisted of approximately 55% traffic cases, 38% misdemeanor cases, 5% civil cases, and 2% criminal cases. Judge Unfug has received compliments from both the district attorneys’ office and from criminal defendants for the respect and patience that he shows in the courtroom. He has expressed the belief that appropriate judicial demeanor involves kindness to people in the courtroom and listening carefully to what they have to say. Although most of his decisions are delivered orally, his written orders are logical, well organized and explain the applicable law. Although the Commission concludes that Judge Unfug meets performance standards, there were concerns about his mastery of technology employed by the court and that he had not yet achieved the level of competency with technological matters despite training and significant tenure on the bench. Judge Unfug indicated that he understands and appreciates his lack of familiarity with certain technical matters, and that he would be proactive in improving in these areas, expressing a desire to undergo more training, and agreeing he has more to learn in this area. Additionally, some surveys and Commissioner observations noted concerns regarding his communication skills, particularly as to his speaking audibly and clearly in court. However, the Commission agrees that he has been working on and has improved in these areas since his last retention period. Based on these findings the Commission agrees that Judge Unfug meets judicial performance standards.