Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 1996 Full List Judge C. de Baca

Second Judicial District - Denver County Judge

Honorable Celeste C. de Baca

Retention year: 1996
Recommendation: Do Not Retain

It is the recommendation of the Judicial Performance Commission of the Second Judicial District that Judge C de Baca NOT BE RETAINED as a county judge.

Judge C de Baca graduated from Regis University with a degree in Political Science in 1980. She obtained her law degree from the University of Denver in August, 1983 and was admitted to the bar on May 31, 1984. Before her appointment to the bench, Judge C de Baca was in private practice with the law firm of C de Baca and C de Baca. She was appointed to the county court bench in August, 1990. She presently serves in the county juvenile court. In 1995 there were 11,461 cases filed in the juvenile division of the Denver County Court. There are few trials in Denver juvenile court. The court works with several programs that provide some treatment or alternative juvenile punishment. Those programs include the juvenile offender work program and referrals to drug and alcohol treatment providers. The Denver Safe Nite Curfew Diversion Program consumes a significant portion of the juvenile docket. Few attorneys appear in the juvenile court.

The Commission bases it recommendation upon two personal interview with Judge C de Baca; correspondence received on her behalf; courtroom observations; interviews with social workers and probation personnel at her request; correspondence from Judge C de Baca; a law enforcement survey; and a supplemental telephone interview with randomly selected attorneys evenly divided between government attorneys, public defenders and private attorneys. A written survey of approximately 60 attorneys was not considered because of a possible sampling error. Law enforcement personnel responded that 86.7% favored retention; 6.7% favored non-retention; and 6.7% had no opinion, with a response rate of 27.3%. Survey of litigants and jurors were not considered because there were only one or two responses, and the Commission did not receive any courthouse personnel survey results because of a lack of statistically significant results. The response rate for attorneys in the supplemental telephone interview was 100%. At Judge C de Baca’s request, approximately six social workers and probation personnel were contacted by telephone, and 100% of those persons recommended Judge C de Baca’s retention.

In the supplemental telephone interview of attorneys, 64.3% recommended retention, 28.6% recommended she not be retained, and 7.1% had no opinion, out of 14 attorneys. Attorney responses indicate that 64.3% agree that Judge C de Baca displays a sense of justice, and 61.5% believe she treats all parties equally concerning socioeconomic status. However, only 57.1% state that her demeanor is appropriate and only 42.9% state that she is courteous. Only 64.3% agree that Judge C de Baca displays compassion. Verbal responses indicate that Judge C de Baca is frequently rude and arrogant. Some respondents found her efficient and fair. Judge C de Baca acknowledges that there is at least a perception among some members of the community that she lacks some important qualities, and she promises to work on improving in these areas. On balance, however, taking into account all the information before the Commission, Judge C de Baca has established a serious pattern of inappropriate demeanor, lack of courtesy and lack of compassion.

Judge C de Baca is more highly rated by attorneys in displaying knowledge of the law and knowledge of evidence and procedure, as well as prompt and clear oral decisions. She also engages in a number of activities off the bench, including bar association activities. She received the Richard Marvin Davis Award in 1993 from the family of Mr. Davis and the Denver Bar Association. She also engages in volunteer and community work. She was recently assigned to act as part-time district court judge in the Denver Drug Court.

In viewing the overall information before the Commission, Judge C de Baca demonstrates a pattern of deficiency in important categories that fall below any reasonable stand of performance that a county judge should achieve in order to be retained. In comparing the information concerning Judge C de Baca with other Denver county judges contained in publically published profiles in 1994, Judge C de Baca falls below an acceptable standard. Consequently, it is the recommendation of the Judicial Performance Commission of the Second Judicial District that Judge C de Baca not be retained as a county judge.