Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2000 Full List Judge Wakefield

Second Judicial District - District-Juvenile Judge

There is a more recent evaluation available for this judge. You can access the evaluation here.

Honorable Dana U. Wakefield

Retention year: 2000
Recommendation: Retain

The Second Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Dana U. Wakefield BE RETAINED.

Judge Wakefield was appointed to the Denver Juvenile Court bench in January 1980. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Wakefield practiced as a Deputy Denver District Attorney. Judge Wakefield received his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 1972. Judge Wakefield hears all types of juvenile cases. In addition to carrying a regular docket, Judge Wakefield carries a separate Juvenile Drug Court docket.

The Commission reviewed written evaluations of Judge Wakefield from attorneys and non-attorneys, including written verbatim comments attached to the evaluation questionnaires. The Commission also considered a written self-evaluation completed by Judge Wakefield and conducted a personal interview with Judge Wakefield.

In mid-1998, Judge Wakefield helped to create the Juvenile Drug Court as a part of the Juvenile Court. Having an additional docket in the drug court has caused his caseload to become somewhat backed-up. Because of the assignment schedules of the City Attorney's and the Public Defender's Offices, it is difficult for him to assign matters to other judges in order to reduce this backlog. Judge Wakefield is working on a solution to this problem with the other juvenile court judges. His heavy caseload has also necessitated his issuing more oral rulings and fewer detailed written opinions. He is working on time and work management techniques in an effort to improve this situation.

Judge Wakefield is very active in the community. He serves variously as a committee member, speaker, lecturer, and chair for numerous programs and groups which are designed to train attorneys, address juvenile law issues, and reduce truancy in the schools. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver College of Law. Judge Wakefield's judicial philosophy includes remembering that each case is very important to the participants; not being influenced in decisions by how well or how poorly a client's lawyer performs; treating litigants the way he would want a judge to treat his family and friends; being proactive in carrying out justice and finding the truth; using the rules of evidence and procedure to advance the search for truth and not permitting them to be used as roadblocks or loopholes; making the courtroom a human place, with an atmosphere of relaxed formality; using his power wisely and judiciously; and starting every litigant off on an even plane. For recreation, Judge Wakefield enjoys spending time with his two sons and following a regular exercise program.

Judge Wakefield received high ratings from both attorneys and non-attorneys in almost every category, particularly in the areas of being courteous; treating all parties equally; communicating clearly, thoroughly and in a well-reasoned manner; maintaining proper judicial temperament; correctly applying the law; and performing with diligence and efficiency. Of the attorneys responding to the questionnaire, 82% recommended that Judge Wakefield be retained in office, 11% recommended that he not be retained, and 7% had no opinion. Of the non-attorneys responding to the questionnaire, 94% recommended retention, 0% recommended non-retention, and 6% had no opinion.