Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 1996 Full List Judge Johnston

Seventh Judicial District - Delta County Judge

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Honorable David C. Johnston

Retention year: 1996
Recommendation: Retain

The Seventh Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge David C. Johnston BE RETAINED.

Judge Johnston has been the Delta County Court Judge since his appointment in January 1989. He received his BA degree from Stanford University in 1968 and his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1974. The same year, he was admitted to the Bar in New Mexico. He served as Legal Aid Attorney for Zuni Legal Services from 1974 to 1976. He became a member of the Colorado State Bar in 1976, at which time he opened his private law practice.

Judge Johnston’s present case load is approximately 80% of a full-time case load, and includes traffic, misdemeanor, preliminary felony matters, small claims and civil claims less than $10,000. Judge Johnston also conducts settlement conferences in district Court civil cases through the Seventh Judicial District as needed, and occasionally sits as a District Court Judge. His private law practice in Paonia has taken a back seat due to the increasing case load of his judicial duties.

Judge Johnston has received high ratings from the law community, courthouse personnel, litigants and jurors, receiving ratings of 100% in all areas of evaluation. He was described by fellow attorneys as courteous, compassionate, and a diligent worker who offers prompt rulings and decisions in a clear manner, displays fairness in all his dealings, and maintains courtroom control with patience and occasional humor.

He has received somewhat less enthusiastic ratings from the law enforcement community. Judge Johnston is aware of the problems that arise from the conflict of fiving cases adequate consideration versus meeting the time constraints of a heavy docket, as well as between consistency in sentencing versus overcrowded jails. He occasionally finds it necessary to provide alternate sentences to jail and feels that plea bargaining is the most important tool in heling to run the system in an economically feasible manner. He understands the frustration level of law enforcement personnel when he has to dismiss cases in which evidence has been mishandled or is not sufficient to hold a suspect.

Overall, Jude Johnston appears to the commission to be well qualified. His legal ability is unquestioned. His background and experience prior to being appointed to County Court Judge allow him to understand and deal with the issues that come before his court.

On a personal note, Judge Johnston is the father of four children, two of whom attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, one is still in high school, and one is in middle school. He is a volunteer coach, a board member of the Paonia Babe Ruth League, a member of the Paonia Rotary Club, and is a past member of the Seventh Judicial District Bench-Bar Committee.