Fourth Judicial District - El Paso County JudgeRetention year: 2012
Recommendation: Do Not Retain
2012 Retention Survey Report
2011 Interim Survey Report
2009 Interim Survey Report
Honorable Karla J. Hansen
The Fourth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends, by a vote of 7-2, that Judge Karla J. Hansen NOT BE RETAINED.
Judge Hansen earned a Bachelor’s Degree in nuclear medicine from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse in 1978. She graduated from the University of Utah College of Law in 1986 and served as a Fourth Judicial District Deputy District Attorney from 1986 to 1994. Prior to her appointment to the El Paso County Court in 2001, Judge Hansen was in private practice specializing in criminal defense, divorce, and guardian ad litem advocacy. She also served as a part-time Colorado Springs Municipal Court Judge during that time. Judge Hansen has continued to contribute to the community through a variety of service activities including participating in Mock Trial Judging and Teen Court. She is also involved with Habitat for Humanity, Restore projects and Feed Our Starving Children.
The Commission reviewed Judge Hansen’s survey data and written comments, interviewed the judge and observed her in the courtroom, read several written decisions and the judge’s self-evaluation. It should be noted that Judge Hansen’s overall average on performance from attorneys’ survey scores has improved slightly each year since 2008. However, her overall Demeanor Scores from attorneys remain lower than average for all county judges up for retention, (Judge Hansen – 2.96 on a 4 point scale, all judges – 3.29) specifically in the areas of treating parties with respect, (Judge Hansen - 2.79, all county judges standing for retention - 3.36) and conducting her courtroom in a neutral manner (Judge Hansen - 2.68, all county judges standing for retention - 3.19). There were similar issues regarding attorneys’ evaluation scores for Judge Hansen during the 2008 retention cycle and Judge Hansen was placed on a performance improvement plan. Commission members expressed concern that after completing the performance improvement plan, Judge Hansen has shown little improvement in those areas of demeanor. There was also concern that the number of attorneys who did not recommend Judge Hansen for retention was double the percent of all county judges standing for retention. Non-attorney performance survey scores show Judge Hansen to be at the average in all areas for county judges standing for retention. Demeanor Scores were comparable to the average of the county judges.
Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 68% recommended to retain, 27% not to retain, and 4% were undecided or didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation. Of those expressing an opinion to retain or not to retain, 72% recommended to retain and 29% not to retain. Of all non-attorneys surveyed, 87% recommended to retain, 7% not to retain, and 6% were undecided or didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation. Of those expressing an opinion to retain or not to retain, 93% recommended to retain and 8% not to retain. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)
Judge Karla J. Hansen’s Response: I have felt honored to serve the citizens of this county for eleven years. The Judicial Performance Commission has chosen not to include my overall combined survey score of 3.43, compared to an average statewide of 3.45. My survey scores are above average in the areas of work ethic, legal analysis, and efficient case management. I am a no-nonsense judge who follows the letter of the law. I incarcerate dangerous drunk drivers for the protection of the public. Attorneys and non-attorneys who have appeared in my Court recommended retention by a significant majority (72% and 93% respectively).