The Colorado Bar Association (CBA) recently put up a new website, Know Your Judge, which provides some information about the retention of judges at election time when you all, the voters, are the judges.
The website is super ugly, but try to get past that and decide for yourself whether it provides any truly useful information.
According to the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation, the so-called "Commissions on Judicial Performance were created in 1988 by the Colorado General Assembly for the purpose of providing voters with fair, responsible and constructive evaluations of judges and justices seeking retention."
"There is one commission in each of the 22 judicial districts and one state commission. Each commission consists of 10 volunteer citizen members: six non-attorneys and four attorneys. Appointments to the commission are made by the Chief Justice, Governor, Speaker of the House and President of the Senate."
Here's the website for all of the evaluations for the general election coming up in November: http://www.coloradojudicialperformance.gov/review.cfm/year/2010
Of all the judges up for retention, only one, Judge Mattoon down in Pueblo, as far as I can tell, received a "Do Not Retain" rating (from the Tenth Judicial District Commission). See the rating here. Only one?
According to the new CBA site, after reading the evaluations, you "have the facts." I am not so sure. Much more information should be provided on the internet in order to get the facts. The court of appeals judges, for example, do not make their "unpublished" opinions readily available--you have to ask the court clerk for any particular unpublished opinion. Orders by trial judges are rarely posted on the district court websites for all the world to see.
What would truly make for an informed decision to retain a judge or not to retain a judge is for the Colorado Supreme Court and/or the legislature to mandate that all substantive orders and rulings be posted on the web. What do you think?