Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2008 Full List Judge Kuenhold

Twelfth Judicial District - District Judge

2008 Retention Survey Report

Honorable O. John Kuenhold

Retention year: 2008
Recommendation: Retain

The Twelfth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Chief Judge O. John Kuenhold BE RETAINED

Judge Kuenhold was appointed as a District Court Judge in 1981 and has been Chief Judge of the Twelfth Judicial District since 2004.  He is the Water Judge for Water Division 3 (Rio Grande Basin).  Judge Kuenhold received his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1969, the same year he was admitted to the Colorado Bar.  He worked for Colorado Rural Legal Services for five years before entering private practice.  From his offices in Alamosa County, Judge Kuenhold sits in all six counties that comprise the Twelfth Judcial District, hearing appeals from county court and holds hearings on cases arising under criminal, civil, juvenile, domestic relations, mental health and water law.

 As Chief Judge, Judge Kuenhold coordinates case load and is the final arbiter in the administration of the judges in this district.  The types of cases personally handled are civil, criminal, juvenile, and domestic.  Judge Kuenhold is the most experienced and primary Water Court judge.  Judge Kuenhold currently serves on the following Supreme Court and State Court Administrator Committees:  Water Court Committee of the Supreme Court , Treatment Court Advisory Committee, Website Rebuild/redesign Committee, JBITS (information technology) Advisory Committee, Caseload Management Standards Committee, JPOD (Judicial Paper-on-Demand) Design Team, and Court Reporter and Digital Recording Committee.  Judge Kuenhold is a member and the Chairperson of the Colorado State Community Corrections Advisory Council and has served in that capacity for over twenty years for four Governors.  He has been a frequent presenter at judicial conferences in Colorado on subjects from technology, case and work-flow management and evidence.

Judge Kuenhold has distinguished himself with detailed research providing thoughtful, thorough analysis of the science and history of water availability and usage in the upper Rio Grande River and the San Luis Valley .  This landmark work is crucial to the sustained agricultural viability of this area and ongoing mutual benefit of neighboring states balancing economic and ecologic concerns.  Judge Kuenhold was a nominee to the Supreme Court of Colorado in 1995.  He was recognized by the Colorado Judiciary as the Outstanding Judicial Officer in 2006.

In compliance with Colorado Revised Statutes the Judicial Performance Commission has reviewed the results of professionally conducted surveys of attorneys and non-attorneys, conducted in court observations, held public hearings, solicited public written comments and conducted a personal interview of Judge Kuenhold.  Judge Kuenhold received above average to high scores from attorneys and non-attorneys who were surveyed.  Additionally, Judge Kuenhold received a higher than average rating for overall performance on the Appellate Survey.  Recommendations for retention from those surveyed were approximately 87% for retention.