Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2008 Full List Judge DeVita

First Judicial District - Jefferson County Judge


Reports:
2008 Retention Survey Report

Honorable John A. (Jack) DeVita

Retention year: 2008
Recommendation: Retain

The First Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge John A. (Jack) DeVita BE RETAINED.

Background: Judge DeVita was appointed to the Jefferson County Court in 2006.  Prior to his appointment as a county judge, he served as a district and county court magistrate for 16 years.  Judge DeVita has been at the forefront of efforts to improve the juvenile justice system for many years.  He was an organizer and participant in the Juvenile Services Planning Committee and a member of the SB94 Committee, implementing significant legislation improving the juvenile justice system.  He has been an advocate of better services for juveniles to provide productive alternatives to sentencing and placements.  Judge DeVita is a member of the Colorado Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee and a Trustee of the Colorado Bar Association.  He has participated in a wide range of community service from SHARE Colorado to fire protection districts.

Strengths: Attorneys who rated Judge DeVita identified his strengths as caring about the people who appear in his court, wanting to do a good job and being committed and diligent.  He was described as fair, level-headed and organized.  He allows time for matters to be appropriately heard.  Non-attorneys commented that he cares about young people, wants people to learn from their mistakes, is fair and looks at everything before he makes a judgment.

Weaknesses: Many attorneys and non-attorneys in the judicial survey felt that Judge DeVita can at times talk down to people and be impolite, moody and abrupt.  He was perceived by some as becoming angry and unduly confrontational during proceedings.

While recommending Judge DeVita be retained, we are troubled by the fact that his survey scores are below the state average of judges surveyed in 2008 in every category.  We nevertheless recognize that Judge DeVita is being evaluated for the first time and we expect improvement in all areas, especially those that relate to judicial temperament and demeanor.  Judge DeVita has discussed these issues with the Commission and has voluntarily agreed to enter into an improvement plan.

Recommendation: 58% of attorneys surveyed and 63% of non-attorneys surveyed recommended that Judge DeVita be retained.  Considering his strengths and his commitment to improve in areas identified as weaknesses, the Commission recommends that Judge DeVita BE RETAINED.