Seventeenth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Craig Welling
Retention Year: 2014
The Seventeenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Craig Welling BE RETAINED.
Judge Welling, a District Court Judge for the Seventeenth Judicial District, was appointed to the bench in 2010, and sworn in as a District Court Judge in 2011. Since that time, Judge Welling has presided over domestic relations, juvenile, civil and appellate (municipal court and county court appeal) cases. For the last year, Judge Welling’s work has been focused on juvenile and appellate cases. In 2007, Judge Welling began serving as chief legal counsel for the administration of Governor Bill Ritter, who then appointed him district judge in 2010. Prior that that position, Judge Welling worked in private practice. Judge Welling received his undergraduate degree from Colorado State University in 1995, his master's degree from Penn State University in 2001, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado in 2001.
In arriving at their recommendation, Commission members interviewed Judge Welling after reviewing survey results provided by lawyers, parties, and other individuals who appeared in front of Judge Welling or otherwise observed him in court. The Commission members also reviewed Judge Welling’s self-evaluation, observed him in court, and reviewed a number of decisions rendered by the judge. During this election cycle, Judge Welling’s survey results from attorneys and non-attorneys revealed his ratings were above the statewide average among all district court judges standing for retention. Of attorneys responding to the survey, 93% recommended to retain, 4% not to retain, and 4% made no recommendation regarding retention. Of non-attorneys responding to the survey, 79% recommended to retain, 12% not to retain, and 10% made no recommendation regarding retention. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)
Judge Welling keeps up to date on the law through reviewing appellate opinions from the Colorado Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court each week, as well as through attending courses and conferences focusing on the types of cases his is presiding over. Prior to serving as a District Court Judge, Judge Welling did not have experience in Domestic Relations or Juvenile Law. To make up for the lack of prior experience, Judge Welling spent a great deal of time observing more seasoned judges in those areas, as well as studying those hard to understand areas of law. Judge Welling acknowledged the importance of communicating in a clear and understandable fashion, especially in the Domestic Relations and Juvenile courtrooms. It is Judge Welling’s philosophy that clear and understandable communication allows those who appear in front of him to understand his decisions, and also helps them to gain information to better avoid negative court involvement in the future. Based on its review of returned surveys, review of several of Judge Welling’s written decisions, courtroom observations, and an interview with Judge Welling, the Commission unanimously recommends that Judge Craig Welling BE RETAINED.