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Wakefield, Dana 2006 Evaluation


Second Judicial District - District - Juvenile Court Judge

Honorable Dana Wakefield 

Retention Year: 2006
Recommendation: Retain

The Second Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Dana Wakefield BE RETAINED.

Judge Wakefield was appointed to the Denver Juvenile Court bench in January 1980. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he practiced as a Deputy Denver District Attorney. Judge Wakefield received his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 1972. Judge Wakefield hears juvenile cases.

The Commission reviewed written evaluations of Judge Wakefield from attorneys and non-attorneys, including written comments attached to the evaluation questionnaires. The Commission also considered a written self-evaluation completed by Judge Wakefield and conducted a personal interview with Judge Wakefield.

Judge Wakefield helped create the Juvenile Drug Court, which began in 1999 as a part of the Juvenile Court. In recent years the Juvenile Court has created more specialized programs to help minors including a program for mental health needs. Although this specialized program is presided over by Magistrates in most cases, Judge Wakefield still participates in addressing juvenile mental health issues through the Juvenile Court.
Judge Wakefield’s community service includes programs to reduce truancy in the schools. He is part of the Children’s Justice Task Force. Judge Wakefield's judicial philosophy includes remembering that each case is very important to the participants; not being influenced in decisions by how well or how poorly a client's lawyer performs; treating litigants the way he would want a judge to treat his family and friends; being proactive in carrying out justice and finding the truth; using the rules of evidence and procedure to advance the search for truth and not permitting them to be used as roadblocks or loopholes; making the courtroom a human place, with an atmosphere of relaxed formality; using his power wisely and judiciously; and starting every litigant off on an even plane.

Judge Wakefield received high ratings from both attorneys and non-attorneys in almost every category, particularly in the areas of overall application and knowledge of the law, overall communications, and overall diligence. He was also given high marks from attorneys for maintaining appropriate control over proceedings, giving reasons for rulings and doing the necessary work to be prepared for cases. Attorneys gave him low ratings for beginning court on time. Non-attorneys gave him high ratings for speaking clearly so that those in the courtroom can hear, willing to make a decision without regard to possible outside pressure, and being able to identify and analyze relevant facts. Of the attorneys responding to the questionnaire, 94% recommended that Judge Wakefield be retained in office and 6% recommended that he not be retained. Of the non-attorneys responding to the questionnaire, 90% recommended retention and 10% recommended non-retention.