Report notes concerns, backs judges

Although it graded two judges below average among peers statewide, the Mesa County Judicial Performance Commission recommends voters approve all three local judges facing a retention vote in November’s general election.

District Judge Valerie Robison was scored below average for Colorado district court judges in surveys measuring a judge’s application and knowledge of the law, diligence, courtroom demeanor and communication skills, according to the commission’s report.

Thirty-three local attorneys were asked to complete anonymous surveys of local judges.

“Of particular concern was Judge Robison’s overall application and knowledge of the law and her ability to apply that law to the facts,” the commission’s report said.

The report said Robison told the commission she plans on meeting with attorneys “to address areas of concern” and will conduct her own anonymous surveys of those with business in her courtroom.

The report said non-attorneys scored the judge above state averages in several categories.

Robison, along with District Court Judge Richard Gurley and County Court Judge Bruce Raaum, were recommended for retention by the commission.

Local attorneys scored Gurley above average in areas such as knowledge of law and temperament, despite “isolated comments” critical of the judge, according to the report.

While attorneys graded Raaum below average for Colorado county court judges, the report noted attorneys largely found his rulings fair and reflecting no bias toward either the prosecution or defense.

The commission’s full report on each judge can be viewed at


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