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Many of you have indicated your appreciation of our analysis of the Amendments and Propositions (http://www.americhicks.com/navigating-the-colorado-ballots) on the 2016 Colorado ballot and have asked our opinion regarding retention of judges.
As we really look at it, we realize that “The Blue Book” doesn’t summarize key decisions. Instead it focuses on judge’s resumes and surveys. It takes real work to research these judges.
Therefore, we talked with a trusted friend, Michael Raleigh, who has done extensive research regarding The Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals and some District Judges. His main criteria is their rulings regarding the citizens right to protect themselves, Choice for families to choose the school best suited for their child and protection of the citizen from politicians and bureaucrats taxing or charging fees to the citizen without the citizen’s permission. No matter what side of the aisle you reside, judges that rule to take away these fundamental principles, raises real questions about their ability to rule justly, impartially and with an understanding of the U.S. Constitution.
Another good resource is Clear the Bench http://www.clearthebenchcolorado.org/evaluations-2016/. While they do not give specific recommendations, Clear the Bench highlights key rulings.
Here’s our findings:
Supreme Court Justice: WILLIAM HOOD, Recommend a “NO” vote. Judge Hood ruled against the Dougco School Voucher Program, Masterpiece Bakery and TABOR. A trifecta NO.
Court of Appeals:
JUDGE KAREN ASHBY, Recommend a “YES” vote. Concurred on supporting the 2nd Amendment and property rights. Not great on TABOR.
JUDGE MICHAEL BERGER, Recommend a “NO” vote. Very TABOR challenged. He likes to rule for politicians and bureaucrats. Ugh! And he ruled against the 1st Amendment in his Masterpiece Bakery decision.
JUDGE STEVEN L. BERNARD, Recommend a “NO” vote. Per “Clear the Bench:” In 14CA1816 NORTON v. ROCKY MOUNTAIN PLANNED PARENTHOOD, (Judge Bernard) concurred in ruling that prohibition on use of public funds “either directly or indirectly” to pay for abortions did not apply if funds were not expressly “for the purpose of” paying for abortions (ignoring that funds are fungible). However you feel about abortion, most people think that government money (money taken from individuals and businesses via tax policy) should not be used for abortion. Clearly, Judge Bernard did an end run around the “prohibition on use of public funds…to pay for abortions…” At the Court of Appeals level, Judge Bernard voted to declare the Dougco Voucher program unconstitutional.
JUDGE STEPHANIE DUNN: Recommend a “YES” vote. From what we can tell, Judge Dunn has a respect for due process. There is not a lot of additional information on Judge Dunn, therefore, at this point we recommend “Yes.”
JUDGE DAVID FURMAN: Recommend“YES” vote. Very solid, common sense justice.
JUDGE ROBERT D. HAWTHORNE: Recommend a “YES” vote. Judge Hawthorne ruled in favor of the 2nd Amendment (right for students to protect themselves) on the CU Gun Ban. .
JUDGE JERRY N. JONES: Recommend a “YES” vote. Judge Jones upheld the DougCo School Voucher program. Any mother or father who is concerned that their child is stuck in a bad school should laud Judge Jerry Jones’ ruling for their choice to move their child to the school that works best for them.
JUDGE ANTHONY J. NAVARRO: Recommend a “NO” vote. Per “Clear the Bench” “In 15CA1066 JEFFERSON COUNTY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION v. JEFFCO SCHOOL DISTRICT R-1, concurred in ruling that teacher’s request for sick leave is not part of the teacher’s personnel file and thus subject to CORA disclosure,” This seems to be a political ruling. While we’re not sure we think a teacher’s personnel file should be available to the public, our understanding is that, by law, it is, subject to CORA requests. That is a completely different issue. On the ruling, Judge Navarro says that requests for sick leave are not part of a teacher’s personnel file. Common sense would dictate that it is. The real issue is the Jeffco School walk-out. Teachers were calling in sick, not because they did not feel well but because the teachers’ union was encouraging them to make a political statement. And our understanding is that teachers are paid for sick days. Therefore it appears that Judge Navarro ruled politically instead of justly, impartially and fairly. In researching Judge Navarro’s other cases per “Clear the Bench,” we could not get a clear understanding of exactly where he stands, therefore we recommend a “no” vote.
JUDGE DIANA TERRY: Recommend a “NO” vote. Judge Terry voted to usurp the legislature’s role, weaken TABOR and in favor of public $$$ for Planned Parenthood abortions. Per “Clear the Bench:” “In 14CA1816 NORTON v. ROCKY MOUNTAIN PLANNED PARENTHOOD, ruled that prohibition on use of public funds “either directly or indirectly” to pay for abortions did not apply if funds were not expressly “for the purpose of” paying for abortions (ignoring that funds are fungible).”
2nd Judicial District: Judge Michael Martinez: Recommend a “NO” vote because he overruled the Dougco Voucher Program.
Per https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Map.cfm below is a map of Colorado’s 22 Judicial Districts.
A description of Colorado’s Judicial system per https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Index.cfm and http://courts.us/state/co/courts.php
The Colorado Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Colorado's state court system. The court generally hears appeals from the Court of Appeals, although Appeals from lower courts in Colorado may be brought to this court. The state high court has seven justices. When there is a vacancy, a justice is appointed by the governor from two or three candidates recommended by a nominating commission. Their initial term is a provisional two-year term. Thereafter, voters elect whether or not to retain each judge for subsequent 10-year terms.
The Colorado Court of Appeals is usually the first court of appeals for decisions from the district courts, Denver Probate Court, and Denver Juvenile Court. The Court of Appeals also reviews decisions of several state administrative agencies. Its determination of an appeal is final unless the Colorado Supreme Court agrees to review the matter. The Colorado Court of Appeals is the state’s intermediate appellate court. It consists of 16 justices retained (or not) by voters in general elections to serve eight-year terms. The Court of Appeals hears appeals of decisions from lower courts as well as from certain administrative boards and agencies.
District Courts hear civil cases in any amount, as well as domestic relations, criminal, juvenile, probate, and mental health cases. District court decisions may be appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals (in some cases directly to the Colorado Supreme Court). District Courts handle felony criminal matters, civil claims, family matters and other cases. Colorado has 22 judicial districts drawn along county lines, but a majority of districts include multiple counties. Seven Water Courts, which are district court divisions, have jurisdiction over water rights.
County Courts handle civil cases under $15,000, misdemeanors, traffic infractions, felony complaints (which may be sent to district court), protection orders, and small claims. County court decisions may be appealed to the district court. County Courts try civil cases up to $15,000, misdemeanors, and traffic cases. And they handle bond settings, preliminary hearings and "felony advisements". They also have the power to issue search warrants and domestic restraining orders. Each of Colorado's 64 counties has a county court.
Municipal Courts are locally funded courts with jurisdiction limited to municipal ordinance violations.
Water Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over cases relating to the determination of water rights, use and administration of water, and all other water matters. There are seven water courts, one in each of the major river basins in Colorado.
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