Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2008 Full List Judge Maes

Tenth Judicial District - District Judge

2008 Retention Survey Report

Honorable Dennis Maes

Retention year: 2008
Recommendation: Retain

The Tenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Chief Judge Dennis Maes BE RETAINED.

Background: Judge Maes was appointed to the Pueblo District Court bench in April 1988.  He became Chief District Judge on September 1, 1995.  He is also the water law judge for the Tenth Judicial District. Judge Maes received his undergraduate degree from Southern Colorado State College and his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1972.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Maes was director of the Pueblo County Legal Services and a Deputy State Public Defender.  He was in private practice from November of 1979 through April 1988 and was involved in many different aspects of both civil and criminal law.  A community priority for Judge Maes both on and off the bench is working with at-risk juveniles to keep them in school and out of trouble.  He plans to focus his future time on the bench in the areas of juvenile and water law.  In addition to state holidays, in 2007 Judge Maes exercised 31 days of leave, which number, without benefit of any state published guidelines, the Commission found appropriate.

The commission conducted an interview with Judge Maes, studied his self evaluation, reviewed the 21 returned surveys from attorneys, the 225 returned surveys from non-attorneys, and the three of his issued orders selected by him.  It also held oral interviews with several agency representatives associated with groups and matters assigned to his courtroom.

Strengths: Judge Maes excels in the areas of treating all people in his courtroom with respect, in clear communication with litigants and attorneys, in maintaining an appropriate demeanor and in maintaining a neutral position without bias while presiding over cases.  His survey results make repeated descriptions of his as “firm,” “fair,” and “compassionate.”

Weaknesses: Judge Maes, as Chief Judge, has administrative responsibilities.  Judge Maes’ future reduced case load should give him time to address the administrative needs of the district.  There is a concern that he may be delegating too much of this responsibility and perhaps should be concerned about the number of “paid leave” type days being taken by at least some of our judges.  Judge Maes’ frustration with the jury selection process may result in artificial time restrictions placed on all litigants in his courtroom without regard to the differences which exist both between types of cases and attorneys.

Recommendation:  81% of the 21 attorneys surveyed and 87% of the 112 non-attorneys surveyed strongly recommend that Judge Maes be retained in office. Overall, 91% of   attorneys surveyed and 95% of non-attorneys surveyed supported his retention.