Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2008 Full List Judge Samelson

Fourth Judicial District - District Judge

2008 Retention Survey Report

Honorable Kirk S. Samelson

Retention year: 2008
Recommendation: Retain

The Fourth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends by a unanimous vote that Chief Judge Kirk S. Samelson BE RETAINED.

Background: Judge Samelson was appointed as a District Judge in 2000 and as the chief judge of the 4th Judicial District in 2007.  He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and the University of Denver College of Law.  Judge Samelson spent 10 years in the Air Force, including service as a prosecutor and as an Associate Professor of Law at the Air Force Academy.  As a civilian, in addition to his private practice, he was a special counsel in the State of Wyoming, and a visiting professor in Ukraine and at Colorado College.  He has been active in many law-related community activities.  Judge Samelson now hears civil and criminal cases; he also performs administrative duties as chief judge.

Strengths: The Commission reviewed 166 surveys from a random sampling of attorneys and non-attorneys who appeared in his courtroom.  This included attorneys, law enforcement officers, defendants, litigants, witnesses and jurors.  He scored above average in all areas, including overall case management, application and management of the law, communications, demeanor and diligence.  He received many positive comments on his fairness, case management, control of the courtroom and excellent demeanor.  In addition to the surveys, Judge Samelson submitted a self-evaluation and had an interview with the Commission.  Judge Samelson submitted three written opinions.  The Commission found those decisions to be concise, well-reasoned and clearly written.

Weaknesses: Judge Samelson acknowledges that he needs to improve his knowledge of juvenile law.

Recommendation: In making its recommendation, the Commission considered the results of surveys from 50 attorneys and 116 non-attorneys, a self-evaluation by the judge, courtroom observations, written decisions and orders and an interview with Judge Samelson before the commission.  Survey responses showed 92% of the attorneys and 98% on the non attorneys recommending retention.