Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2000 Full List Judge Martinez

Second Judicial District - District Judge

Honorable Frank Martinez

Retention year: 2000
Recommendation: Retain

The Second Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Frank Martinez BE RETAINED.

Judge Martinez was appointed to the Denver District Court bench in January 1990. He currently hears criminal cases. During the last six years, he has also heard civil and domestic relations cases. Judge Martinez received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in 1977 and his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1980. He was in private law practice in Denver prior to his appointment to the bench. Judge Martinez participates as a faculty member in continuing legal education programs, particularly in the domestic relations area. His judicial philosophy includes endeavoring to make decisions on a principled, uniform and consistent basis and to articulate those principles as reasons for his decisions. He also tries to recognize that each party is an individual and to do what his duties as a judge require him to do, even in situations in which there might be a conflict with his personal views or beliefs. For recreation, Judge Martinez enjoys biking and actively participating in a number of other athletic endeavors.

The Commission reviewed written evaluations of Judge Martinez from attorneys and non-attorneys, as well as other written and oral information from individuals with knowledge of Judge Martinez' judicial performance. The Commission conducted two personal interviews with Judge Martinez, as well as personal interviews with numerous attorneys who have regularly appeared before Judge Martinez, primarily in criminal and domestic relations matters. The Commission also considered a written self-evaluation completed by Judge Martinez, written information provided by Judge Martinez, and written verbatim comments attached to the evaluation questionnaires.

The Commission found that Judge Martinez is highly regarded by many attorneys and non-attorneys. On a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest, Judge Martinez received high ratings from attorneys, ranging from 2.9 to 3.3, in the areas of treating all parties equally regardless of age, race, gender and socioeconomic status; managing cases and docket efficiently and with minimal delay; and knowledge of the rules of evidence and procedure. Judge Martinez also received mid-level ratings, ranging from 2.5 to 2.8, in the areas of being fair and impartial to both sides; treating pro se parties fairly; not engaging in ex parte communications; providing written communications that are clear, thorough, and well-reasoned; communicating verbally in a clear, thorough and well-reasoned manner; explaining court procedures clearly and thoroughly; using court time efficiently; being prepared for all court matters; ruling on motions in a timely manner; making the correct decisions based upon the law and the facts; and making decisions without regard to possible criticism.

However, the Commission noted that Judge Martinez' ratings and performance are significantly deficient in a number of important areas. Judge Martinez received a rating from attorneys of 2.1 in being courteous toward parties or witnesses; 1.9 in being courteous toward attorneys; and 2.0 in being courteous toward pro se parties. Judge Martinez also received 2.0 in maintaining a professional demeanor in the courtroom; 1.9 in listening patiently to all testimony and arguments before issuing a ruling; 2.2 in being punctual in commencing proceedings; 2.1 in being willing to handle cases on the docket even when they are complicated and time-consuming; and 2.4 in providing quick access to the court in emergency matters.

Of the attorneys responding to the questionnaire, 56% recommended that Judge Martinez be retained in office, 31% recommended that he not be retained, and 13% had no opinion. Of the non-attorneys responding to the questionnaire, 65% recommended retention, 25% recommended non-retention, and 10% had no opinion.

The Commission received supplemental information which also indicates that Judge Martinez requires significant improvement in several areas of judicial performance. Judge Martinez has advised the Commission that he welcomes constructive criticism arising out of the performance evaluation process and would appreciate the opportunity to work to become a better judge.

Judge Martinez requires improvement in his communications skills, courtroom demeanor and temperament. The Commission found that Judge Martinez sometimes loses his temper and responds in a manner which is not appropriate for a judge. The Commission also found that Judge Martinez sometimes makes comments and jokes in the courtroom which may be misunderstood by certain court participants or are otherwise not appropriate. The Commission found that Judge Martinez can be sarcastic and abrupt in his courtroom manner and that some of his comments and actions do not exhibit appropriate judicial temperament. The Commission further found that Judge Martinez requires improvement in communicating his requirements, expectations, rulings and actions in a more understandable and appropriate manner. In order to remedy these deficiencies, Judge Martinez has agreed with the Commission that he will retain and work on an on-going basis with a skilled communications professional. He also plans to attend more seminars about judicial communications.

The Commission also found that Judge Martinez has not been taking as many transfers of cases as other judges on the Denver District bench, and the Commission is concerned that this may result in a backlog of cases for the bench as a whole. Judge Martinez has agreed with the Commission that he will be more proactive in seeking and taking transfers from his colleagues, for example, when his docket unexpectedly clears.

Judge Martinez has advised the Commission that he has already taken a number of steps to remedy several of these deficiencies, and information provided to the Commission has verified that some areas have already begun to be addressed. Judge Martinez has promised the Commission that he will do his utmost, and take whatever steps are necessary, to remedy all of the noted deficiencies as quickly and as completely as possible.

Based upon Judge Martinez' agreement to improve in the areas of deficiency, which improvement the Commission finds to be necessary, the Second Judicial District Performance Commission recommends that Judge Martinez be retained.