Denver Bar Association
January 2011
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First Member Survey on Judicial Nominees a Success

by Sara Crocker

More than 400 Denver Bar Association members responded to the first survey conducted by the DBA on nominees for judicial vacancies in Denver District Court.

The survey was created by a subcommittee of the DBA Board of Trustees, led by 1st Vice President Daniel McCune. It was sent to all members and Bar leadership in November, and was meant to provide meaningful input on the nominees to the governor before his deadline to make the appointments.

In the past, the bar association has requested input on nominees from Bar leaders and past presidents, but not the entire membership. The survey was created to provide more information and to quantify feedback about a nominee to the governor.

Questions in the survey asked candidates to rate nominees in areas ranging from experience to impartiality. Respondents also had the ability to provide comments after each question and overall comments on the nominees.

The goal with how the survey was crafted?

“We needed to keep it simple,” McCune said.

The results of the survey were tallied by an independent accounting firm. A packet was created for Gov. Bill Ritter to review overall ratings of nominees from each question, as well as specific comments. However, all responses to the survey are anonymous. While the bar association provides this information to the governor’s office, it does not recommend or rank nominees.

Having much more information to present to the governor than in years past, DBA President Stacy Carpenter said the information was well received.

“[The Governor’s office was] very thankful for the information,” she said. “I think we’re providing an increased service both to the governor’s office and to our members, who now have a say in this process.”

Carpenter also thanked those who helped craft and send the survey.

Based on the success of this survey, the bar association hopes to continue this process for future vacancies in Denver District Court. In the future, members can expect to see more e-mails requesting their input via survey, and Bar leaders hope more will respond.

“Their voice matters and it’s important that we try to pick the best qualified candidates for our judges,” McCune said. “This is their chance to be heard when it can matter.”

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