Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2008 Full List Judge Wheeler

Eighteenth Judicial District - District Judge

2008 Retention Survey Report
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Honorable John L. Wheeler

Retention year: 2008
Recommendation: Retain

The Eighteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge John L. Wheeler BE RETAINED.

Background: Judge Wheeler graduated from Cornell University in 1968 with a degree in government.  He graduated from the University of Colorado Law School in 1982.  He specialized in civil litigation from 1983 until he was appointed as a District Judge in Arapahoe County in August of 2006.  While serving as a judge over the past two years, he has spent 60% of his time handling civil cases and 40% of his time handling criminal cases.  He recently completed a course in criminal procedure at the National Judicial College.  This is Judge Wheeler’s first review by the Commission.

In surveys of the non-attorneys, 100% of those surveyed recommended retention.  In surveys of the attorneys, 88% of them recommended retention.  Judge Wheeler received excellent ratings for his demeanor, fairness and ability to communicate, and high ratings for his overall application of the law.  The survey comments repeatedly refer to him as being fair, and he was praised throughout for his patience, communication skills, and integrity. 

The Commission conducts extensive research in making this recommendation, including use of surveys conducted on the judge, interviews with people involved in the courtroom, personal observations in the courtroom, and the judge's self evaluation.

Recommendation:  Judge Wheeler did not receive a unanimous decision to retain due to comments to the Commission from attorneys who regularly appear before Judge Wheeler.  They were concerned that Judge Wheeler acts more like an attorney than a judge, and stated he interferes with the lawyers’ presentation of the cases.  He is having difficulty making the transition from being an advocate to being a judge.  However, the Commission believes Judge Wheeler has the ability to become an excellent judge once he completes this transition process. The Commission finds that Judge Wheeler should be retained.