Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2012 Full List Judge Carpenter

First Judicial District - Jefferson County Judge

2012 Retention Survey Report
2011 Interim Survey Report
2009 Interim Survey Report
There is a more recent evaluation available for this judge. You can access the evaluation here.

Honorable Verna L. Carpenter

Retention year: 2012
Recommendation: Retain

The First Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends by a unanimous vote that Judge Verna L. Carpenter BE RETAINED.

Judge Carpenter received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Metropolitan State College of Denver and her law degree from Creighton University School of Law.  She was appointed to the Jefferson County Court in 2008.  Before her appointment to the court, Judge Carpenter was a Chief Deputy District Attorney for the City and County of Denver.  She handles a mix of traffic, civil, and misdemeanor cases.  Her community interests include serving as a volunteer with the elderly.  She has been involved in numerous efforts to improve the legal community including judging moot court competitions, serving on the Criminal Justice Strategic Planning Committee and on the Youth Alcohol Intervention Committee.

This evaluation is the first one for Judge Carpenter since she was appointed.  Commission members found Judge Carpenter to be a bright, scholarly, and articulate judge. Judge Carpenter in discussions with the Commission recognizes that her sentencing policies, especially on repeat drunk driving defendants, may be more harsh than other county judges and that resulted in survey results that are lower than the average of the other county judges standing for retention.  She is aware that she is perceived as prosecution oriented and will seek ways to correct that perception. However, her sentences on all cases are within the statutory limits. The Commission members were impressed with her sensitivity to these issues and to her commitment to her community.  In observing her courtroom demeanor, the Commission members found her to be professional, respectful of all parties, and in control of her courtroom.

The Commission considered responses to anonymous surveys sent to attorneys and non-attorneys who had been in Judge Carpenter’s courtroom, unannounced courtroom visitations by Commission members, a self-evaluation by Judge Carpenter, a personal interview with Judge Carpenter, and other information in reaching its recommendation regarding Judge Carpenter.  Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 56% recommended to retain, 35% not to retain, and 9% were undecided or didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation.  Of those expressing an opinion to retain or not to retain, 61% recommended to retain and 38% not to retain.   These numbers are lower than the average for all county judges reviewed this year.  The Commission would point out that the number of defense attorneys responding to surveys outnumbered district attorneys responding to surveys by almost nine-to-one.  The Commission feels that this may have skewed numbers voting for retention in the negative.  Of all non-attorneys surveyed, 82% recommended to retain, 10% not to retain, and 9% were undecided or didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation. Of those expressing an opinion to retain or not to retain, 89% recommended to retain and 11% not to retain. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)  Based upon its review of the information presented to it, the First Judicial District Performance Commission is pleased to recommend unanimously that Judge Verna L. Carpenter of the Jefferson County Court BE RETAINED.