Twenty-First Judicial District — Mesa County

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Mesa County Courthouse

P.O. Box 20,000 (zip: 81502-5030)

125 N. Spruce

Grand Junction, Colorado 81501

Telephone: (970) 257-3640

In 2012 the Equal Justice Foundation began a rating system of justices standing for retention based on the votes of attorneys who submit responses to surveys sent to them by the Judicial Performance Review Commission. The idea was first put forward by the Rocky Mountain News in an October 13, 2002, editorial. Whether a “Retain” or “Do Not Retain” is recommended is based on the criteria:

Retain: More than 85% of attorneys voted to retain;

Marginal: in 2012 the standard was that only 80-85% of attorneys voted to retain. In 2014 review this was broadened to 75-85% and in 2018 the standard was expanded again to 71-85% of attorneys voted to retain;

Do Not Retain: In 2012 the standard was less than 80% of attorneys voted to retain. In 2014 review this was changed to <75% of attorneys voted to retain and in 2018 this was lowered even further to less than or equal <=70% suggesting judicial standards continue to decline.


 
    Table 36: Twenty-First Judicial District Judges and Magistrates

Name of Judge

Telephone

Case Links

Comments

 

District Judges

Amanda Bailey

 

No longer on bench as of January 2007.

 

Appointed in 1990.

Stood for retention in 2000. 90% Retain.

David A. Bottger

former Chief Judge

(970) 257-3630

Retired August 12, 2016.

 

Appointed district court judge in 1987. promoted to chief judge October 1, 2005.

Stood for retention in 2002. 93% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2008. 97% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2014.

EJF recommendation: Retain 86%

Charles A. Buss

former chief judge

 

No longer on bench as of 2004.

 

Appointed in 1977 by Gov. Lamm.

Stood for retention in 1998. 77% Retain.

Thomas M. Deister

Courtroom: 12

 

Retired January 2017.

 

Appointed county court judge October 1994.

Stood for retention 2000: Only 71% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2004. 92% Retain.

Appointed district court judge October 18, 2005.

Stood for retention in 2008.

Stood for retention in 2014.

EJF recommendation: 73% Do Not Retain, only 73% Retain.

Brian J. Flynn

Chief Judge

Courtroom: 10

 

Concerns that he favors prosecution.

(970) 257-3635

 

Appointed by acting governor Keith King in September 2004. Stepped up to bench in January 2005.

Stood for retention 2008.

EJF recommendation: Do Not Retain

Only 57% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2014.

EJF recommendation: Do Not Retain

Only 73% of attorneys voted to Retain while 18% voted Do Not Retain.

Dick Gurley

Courtroom:11

(970) 257-3666

 

Appointed by Bill Owens September 2006. Formerly a state prosecutor in Florida.

Replaced Amanda Bailey

Stood for retention in 2010.

Stood for retention again in 2016.

EJF recommendation: Retain

97% of attorneys voted to Retain and no Do Not Retain votes were cast.

Gretchen B. Larson

Courtroom 12

(970) 257-3637

 

Promoted to district court judge by Gov. Hickenlooper in November 2016.

Appointed county court judge by Gov. Owens in July 2006. Previously a deputy district attorney.

Stood for retention in 2008. 89% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2012.

EJF recommendation: Retain 88%

Stood for retention again in 2016.

EJF recommendation: 84% Marginal

Nicholas R. Massaro

former chief judge

 

Retired in 2006

 

Stood for retention in 2002. 93% Retain

Valerie Jo Robison

Courtroom: 5

(970) 257-3633

 

Appointed to the bench on June 14, 2007

Stood for retention in 2010. Attorneys graded her below average of other district court judges statewide. Of particular concern was her overall application and knowledge of the law and ability to apply that law to the facts. Additionally, she was perceived as being significantly more biased for the prosecution in criminal cases than other judges statewide.

Stood for retention again in 2016.

EJF recommendation: Do Not Retain

Only a pathetic 59% of attorneys voted to Retain while fully 29% voted Do Not Retain. Obviously she has not learned or improved over the past six years.

Lance P. Timbreza

Courtroom 9

(970) 257-3630

 

Appointed district court judge by Gov. Hickenlooper in July 2016. Previously he was in private practice.

Stood for retention in 2018.

EJF recommendation: Retain

94% of attorneys voted to Retain.

Top

County Judges

Thomas M. Deister

 

Promoted to district court judge in 2006.

 

Appointed county court judge October 1994.

Stood for retention 2000: Only 71% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2004. 92% Retain.

Michael J. Grattan

Division 8

(970) 257-8708

 

Appointed county court judge by Gov. Hickenlooper in January 2017. Replaced Judge Larson. Previously in private practice.

Craig P. Henderson

Division: 1

(970) 257-3651

 

Appointed to the bench in 2005.

Replaced Thomas M. Deister

Stood for retention in 2008.

Stood for retention in 2012.

EJF recommendation: Retain 92%

Stood for retention again in 2016.

EJF recommendation: Do Not Retain

Just 72% of attorneys voted to Retain while 20% voted Do Not Retain.

Gretchen Larson

Division: 8

 

Promoted to district court judge by Gov. Hickenlooper in November 2016.

 

Appointed county court judge by Gov. Owens in July 2006. Previously a deputy district attorney.

Stood for retention in 2008. 89% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2012.

EJF recommendation: Retain 88%

Stood for retention again in 2016.

EJF recommendation: 84% Marginal

Bruce R. Raaum

Division: 2

(970) 257-3652

 

Appointed by Gov. Owens September 2006.

Formerly an associate municipal judge in Parachute.

Stood for retention 2010. Only 70% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2014.

EJF recommendation: Do Not Retain

Just 71% of attorneys voted to Retain, virtually identical with his low rating in the 2010 review.

Stood for retention again in 2018.

EJF recommendation: Sub-Marginal

73% of attorneys voted to Retain but he has shown no improvement during his 12 years on the bench.

Arthur R. Smith

 

No longer on bench as of February 2007.

 

Stood for retention in 1998. 92% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2002. 86% Retain.

Top

Magistrates

Matthew Barrett

Division 4

(970) 257-8780

 

 

Cynthia Cyphers

 

No longer on bench as of September 2012.

Kevin Kennedy

Division: 3

(970) 257-3691

 

 

Replaced Cyphers

William T. McNulty

Division: 7

 

For unknown reasons this jurist(?) is still on the bench in 2018. Has the chief judge no standards?

(970) 257-3645

 

While acting as a visiting magistrate in 2010 he denied restraining order to 7 th Judicial District Attorney Myrl Serra's mistress in September 2010 claiming unwanted sexual advances did not constitute a threat.

DA Myrl Serra was arrested October 1, 2010, and later convicted after multiple complaints from women about his sexual advances, assaults, and official conduct.

Stephanie Rubinstein

Division: 3

 

No longer on bench as of October 2018.

Jane E. Westbrook

 

In 2008 she won a judicial excellence award, illustrating the low standards for Colorado jurists.

 

No longer on bench as of July 2009

 

While acting as a visiting magistrate in 2008 she denied restraining order to 7 th Judicial District Attorney Myrl Serra's mistress in 2008 claiming no threat of physical harm.

DA Myrl Serra was arrested October 1, 2010, and later convicted after multiple complaints from women about his sexual advances, assaults, and official conduct.

Top


 

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Last modified 10/15/18.