Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 1992 Full List Judge Nelson

Eighth Judicial District - Larimer County Judge

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Honorable Don L. Nelson

Retention year: 1992
Recommendation: Retain

Judge Nelson received his law degree from the University of Denver in 1967. After admission to the Bar in that same year, he was associated with a Fort Collins law firm and as a part-time district attorney for the Eighth Judicial District. In 1970 he was appointed deputy state public defender for the Eighth Judicial District. He returned to private practice from 1972 until 1978, when he was appointed County Court Judge for Larimer County.

Judge Nelson’s responsibilities include traffic cases, misdemeanors, felony bondings and jurisdiction in civil cases up to $10,000. Approximately 7,000 cases were handled last year by Judge Nelson.

Law enforcement personnel and courthouse personnel who responded to the survey generally felt that Judge Nelson was biased against law enforcement agencies and that many of his rulings are too easy or defense oriented. There were also criticisms that too much authority had been delegated to staff and that such authority was abused.

However, attorneys practicing before Judge Nelson were uniformly positive in their comments. Jurors were also very positive in their regard for Judge Nelson’s performance.

The responses to the questionnaire showed: 70 Attorneys, Retain 85% (60), Not retain 3% (2), No opinion 12% (8); 25 Jurors, Retain 96% (24), Not retain 0% (0), No opinion 4% (1); 60 Law Enforcement Officers, Retain 20% (12), Not retain 62% (37), No opinion18% (11); 31 Court Personnel, Retain 23% (7), Not retain 45% (14), No opinion 32% (10).

The Commission felt that Judge Nelson was sincere and intelligent and that he conscientiously tried to be fair in the discharge of his duties.

The 8th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Don L. Nelson be retained.