Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2000 Full List Judge Penny

Thirteenth Judicial District - Kit Carson County Judge

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Honorable John Curtis Penny Jr.

Retention year: 2000
Recommendation: Retain

The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge John Curtis Penny, Jr. BE RETAINED.

Judge Penny was appointed to the bench in January 1977. Judge Penny hears 60% traffic, 20% civil, 10% criminal misdemeanor, and 10% domestic relation cases in his court as a part-time judge. He maintains a general practice of law in Burlington in addition to his county judge duties.

Questionnaires for evaluation of Judge Penny were sent to attorneys who have practiced in his court and to non-attorneys (law enforcement, jurors, special advocates, litigants, court/probation employees, and crime victims) who have appeared in his court during the past two years.

The survey results from attorneys were consistent with statewide survey results of county judges with regard to favoring retention. Non-attorney surveys were very favorable with the exception of local law enforcement surveys. His desire to uphold constitutional rights of all parties in the county has led to conflict with local law enforcement personnel.

The surveys gave him high marks on his handling of pro se people (not represented by an attorney) in his court, knowledge of rules of evidence/procedure and ruling on motions in a timely manner. He and his efficient staff deal effectively with his docket. Of the 202 surveys sent to both attorneys who had practiced before Judge Penny since his last evaluation in 1994, and to other parties, 99 surveys were returned. Of the attorneys surveyed 73% favored retention, 20% favored non-retention and 7% had no opinion. Of the non-attorneys surveyed, 65% favored retention, 28% favored non-retention and 7% had no opinion.

He needs to give attention to his demeanor relative to some parties in his court, especially those whose credibility may be in question.

After reviewing all the surveys and the in-person interview, the eight-member Commission voted unanimously to retain Judge Penny.