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Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas

Posted: October 25, 2010 12:52 PM

Election Day is coming fast and some of you are already voting under Colorado's early voting, so I have a question for you. What do you do with the judges on the ballot? Skip 'em? Guess?

My work as a lawyer is all about effective negotiations, understandable contracts and landmine avoidance to keep human-owned businesses out of court. Lawsuits, in all but the rarest cases, are a no-win situation for business owners who would be much better off focusing their time and money on the business instead of on litigation. When litigation is unavoidable, I bring in a litigation specialist to take the case into the courtroom.

So, what I know about the performance of Colorado judges is not much; it's likely you are no different. Nevertheless, we need to know something about these men and women because voting for or against the retention of judges is a right of Colorado citizens and a duty for everyone who cares about our state.

Fortunately for the vast majority of us who don't regularly watch the work of our judges, Colorado has a system of Judicial Performance Commissions to provide nonpartisan evaluations of our judges. This year the work and work product of these Commissions are highlighted on the Know Your Judge website.

This site contains a number of useful links on everything from how a judge becomes a judge to the workings of the performance commissions. It also features a humorous public service announcement (from which this post's title is taken) that reminds us that facts are what count when deciding on our judges. Most importantly, the site gives you the facts about the judges on your ballot and the retention recommendation developed by our Commissions.

Early voters have the advantage of using the site as they complete their ballots. Folks, like me, who still like to wait in line (but not too long) to vote with our neighbors at a polling place need to do homework in advance, and come with notes, if your memory is like mine. Trying to decide on judges (or ballot measures for that matter) in the voting booth results in decisions like those in the PSA, definitely not funny or recommended.


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