Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2008 Full List Judge Berkenkotter

Twentieth Judicial District - District Judge

2008 Retention Survey Report
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Honorable Maria E. Berkenkotter

Retention year: 2008
Recommendation: Retain

The Twentieth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Maria E. Berkenkotter BE RETAINED.

Background:  Judge Berkenkotter was appointed to the District Court in 2006.  Before her appointment, Judge Berkenkotter was a law clerk at the Colorado Supreme Court for a year and also engaged in the private practice of law.  Thereafter, Judge Berkenkotter was a First Assistant Attorney General at the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, supervising the Antitrust, Consumer Protection and Tobacco Litigation Units.  Judge Berkenkotter received her law degree from the University of Denver in 1987.

The recommendation that Judge Berkenkotter be retained is based upon courtroom observations, a personal interview, a review of three of her written opinions performed by the Commission, and the survey results of litigants, court staff, jurors, attorneys, appellate judges, and others who have knowledge of Judge Berkenkotter’s performance as a judge.  The Commission also held a public hearing to solicit additional feedback. 

Evaluation:  The Commission notes that while Judge Berkenkotter has been on the bench for only two years, she already functions like a more experienced judge.  Judge Berkenkotter displays a good judicial temperament and balances control and efficiency with respect and fairness in her courtroom.  She acknowledges being unfamiliar with certain substantive areas of the law and has dedicated significant efforts to becoming knowledgeable and proficient in those areas.  She appears to be making excellent progress in this effort.  Judge Berkenkotter is a hard-working judge who makes it her priority to give all parties a full and fair opportunity to be heard in her courtroom.  She also strives to issue clear, thorough, and fully understandable oral and written rulings. 

Recommendation:  Survey results showed strong support for retaining Judge Berkenkotter.  Of those who stated an opinion, 90% of the attorneys and 80% of the non-attorneys recommended that she be retained.  Many of the survey respondents added positive comments about her performance as a judge.  Of the four appellate court judges who rated Judge Berkenkotter, all gave her an “A”, the highest available grade.  The average grade for all district judges was a “B+.”