Colorado Court of Appeals
Honorable Craig R. Welling
Retention Year: 2020
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The State Commission on Judicial Performance finds that Judge Craig R. Welling MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS, by a vote of 11-0. The Colorado statutory judicial performance standards are integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and the public.
Judge Welling has been on the Colorado Court of Appeals for a little over three years and this is his first retention evaluation as a court of appeals judge. Some survey comments were critical of Judge Welling’s courtroom demeanor and communication style. From our observations at hearings, however, the Commission finds Judge Welling’s demeanor is professional and respectful. His questions demonstrate advanced preparation and detailed knowledge of the case. The Commission finds that Judge Welling’s written opinions, although somewhat lengthy, provide clear and detailed explanations of his decisions and reasoning. The Commission commends Judge Welling’s commitment to seeking out ways to continually improve on his judicial processes, as demonstrated by his survey scores on issuing timely opinions, which significantly improved since his interim evaluation. The Commission believes that Judge Welling is a valuable addition to the Colorado Court of Appeals.
To conduct our evaluation, the Commission interviewed Judge Welling, reviewed his self-evaluation, observed oral arguments, read a selection of his legal opinions, and considered survey responses from attorneys and judges. One survey question asked whether Judge Welling met judicial performance standards. Of the attorneys who responded to that question, 84% answered yes and 16% answered no. Of the judges who responded to that question, 98% answered yes and 2% answered no. A total of 32 attorneys and 63 judges responded to the survey.
Judge Welling was appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper to the Colorado Court of Appeals on January 16, 2017. Judge Welling earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Colorado State University in 1995, an M.S. in environmental engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 2001, and a law degree from the University of Colorado in 2001. He began his career as an associate at a private law firm. Judge Welling served in Colorado Governor Bill Ritter's Office of Legal Counsel from 2007 until 2011. He was appointed to the Colorado district court in the 17th Judicial District in 2011 and served there until his appointment to the Court of Appeals As a district court judge, he had rotations in the areas of adult felony criminal law, juvenile law (including dependency, neglect, delinquency, and adoption), and domestic relations. Judge Welling contributes to the judicial system by editing a practice manual for trial judges and chairing the Juvenile Rules Committee. He has committed to becoming more active in serving the community.