Home Judicial Performance Evaluations 2012 Full List Judge Horton

Eighteenth Judicial District - District Judge

2012 Retention Survey Report
2011 Interim Survey Report
2009 Interim Survey Report

Honorable Kurt A. Horton

Retention year: 2012
Recommendation: Retain

The Eighteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Kurt A. Horton BE RETAINED.

Judge Horton received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, graduating cum laude in 1976.  He received his law degree from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 1980.  Following graduation from law school Judge Horton clerked for a United States District Judge in Denver.  After that, and before being appointed a District Judge, Judge Horton practiced law in Denver for several years.  He specialized in commercial litigation and the defense of professional negligence cases.  Judge Horton volunteers each year to judge high school mock trial and moot court competitions.  Judge Horton was appointed a District Judge in 2009. 

Judge Horton's current duties include presiding over both civil and criminal cases, with about eighty percent of his cases being criminal.  Judge Horton is described by those who appear before him as fair, impartial, thoughtful and very hardworking.  Judge Horton is quick to help out other judges by picking up their overflow cases as necessary.  He is also praised for being respectful and considerate of all who appear in his court.  Judge Horton has been criticized, and his survey scores reflect this criticism, for being slow to issue decisions and for his rather lengthy written decisions.  This is not particularly unusual for newer district judges, however, and Judge Horton is working diligently to find ways to work faster.  Judge Horton has already taken survey comments and criticisms to heart and has consulted with his colleagues on ways to expedite cases in his courtroom.  While Judge Horton's survey scores are lower overall than those of other district judges standing for retention, the Commission members are very impressed with the judge's excellent court room demeanor, his work ethic, his commitment to serving the public, and his sincere desire and ability to continue to improve as a judge.  The Commission is confident that Judge Horton will mature into one of the District's best judges.

The Commission has conducted extensive research in making this recommendation, including a review of the surveys conducted on the judge, interviews with people involved in the judge's courtroom, commission members' personal observations in the judge's courtroom, and the judge's self-evaluation.  Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 59% recommended to retain, 33% not to retain, and 8% were undecided or didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation.  Of those expressing an opinion to retain or not to retain, 64% recommended to retain and 35% not to retain.  Of all non-attorneys surveyed, 93% recommended to retain, 3% not to retain, and 4% were undecided or didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation.  Of those non-attorneys expressing an opinion to retain or not to retain, 97% recommended to retain and 3% not to retain.  (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)