Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2008 Full List Judge Lynch

Ninth Judicial District - District Judge

2008 Retention Survey Report
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Honorable Denise K. Lynch

Retention year: 2008
Recommendation: Retain

The Ninth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Denise Lynch BE RETAINED.
Background:  Judge Lynch is a recent appointee to the Ninth Judicial District Court, replacing Chief Judge T. Peter Craven, who passed away in 2006.  Judge Lynch obtained her law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, summa cum laude.  Before her appointment to the district court, Judge Lynch was an Assistant County Attorney for Garfield County for five years and a civil litigator in Denver for nearly twenty years.  Judge Lynch currently serves on the Garfield County Methamphetamine Task Force.
The Commission considered the following information in its evaluation of Judge Lynch:  a personal interview; courtroom observations of both criminal and civil cases; attorney and non-attorney survey responses; case load data; three written opinions; and a self-evaluation.  The Commission was unanimously impressed by Judge Lynch who is performing at a level equal, and in some respects better, than more experienced district court judges.
Strengths:  Judge Lynch’s strengths are diligence, timeliness and a commitment to judicial excellence.  With a heavier criminal docket than some of the other district court judges and no prior criminal law experience, Judge Lynch has proven herself a quick study and has effectively managed a large number of criminal cases along with a separate track for drug offenders.  In civil matters, Judge Lynch has demonstrated similar acuity and adeptness, including attentive case management and prompt rulings on pending motions, usually within sixty days. 

Weaknesses:  Judge Lynch’s weaknesses may be due to her newness on the bench and an increasing criminal docket. In the survey responses completed by attorneys, Judge Lynch scored slightly lower than other judges in her overall application and knowledge of law, and a small percentage of respondents expressed some concerns regarding bias toward the prosecution, criminal sentencing consistency, judicial demeanor and prompt rulings.  The Commission was impressed by Judge Lynch’s careful consideration of the survey responses and her concrete plans for self-improvement.  For example, Judge Lynch has undertaken sentencing tracking to ensure that she issues uniform sentences in similar criminal cases.  Judge Lynch has also tried to strike a balance between availability and undue familiarity in her courtroom, attempting to maintain an appropriate professional and formal demeanor.  Legal writing is an identified area for improvement by Judge Lynch and she is committed to attaining excellence in this area.  Finally, while some of her civil scheduling difficulties are due to a criminal docket that is not within her control, Judge Lynch methodically and timely rules on civil motions because she understands the importance of these cases to the litigants and that ruling on pending motions moves cases along and promotes settlement.
Recommendation:   96% of the attorneys and 92% of the non-attorneys surveyed recommended that Judge Lynch be retained, and the Commission unanimously agrees that she is an asset to the bench.