Retention. How Colorado Keep Its Judges

(Colorado) -- Today, Wednesday, May 25th is an important day for several candidates who want to be the next judge in the 16th Judicial District. They are interviewing with a commission who will decide which move forward. The next step is to Governor Jared Polis who will select one to serve. Judge Michael Schiferl is retiring and that is the seat that is open. Judge Mark MacDonnell is the Chief Judge and he is not retiring.



The newly appointed judge will sit in the chair for two years before he or she will be retained. However, this process isn't how every state does it. It's how we do it though.

So let's dive into what that means. As a mom, I'm always looking to learn new things to share with the kiddo and I certainly learned a thing or two when researching this topic.


According to Ballotpedia.com,

A retention election is a type of election where voters are asked whether an incumbent judge should remain in office for another term. The judge, who does not face an opponent, is removed from the position if a certain percentage of voters (often 50%) indicate that he or she should not be retained.


States using retention methods are:


Alaska

Arizona

California

Colorado

Florida

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Maryland

Missouri

Nebraska

New Mexico

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

South Dakota

Tennessee

Utah

Wyoming


There are other types of selection processes for judges.

(From Ballotpedia.com)

  • Partisan election: Judges are elected by the people, and candidates are listed on the ballot alongside a label designating political party affiliation.

  • Nonpartisan election: Judges are elected by the people, and candidates are listed on the ballot without a label designating party affiliation.

  • Michigan method: State supreme court justices are selected through nonpartisan elections preceded by either partisan primaries or conventions.

  • Retention election: A periodic process whereby voters are asked whether an incumbent judge should remain in office for another term. Judges are not selected for initial terms in office using this election method.

Historically, all elections of judges were partisian but some worried that putting politics in the courts could be a bad idea. If you would like to read up more on the history, here's a helpful link. https://ballotpedia.org/Retention_election


And if you would like to see how the retention system was born, this video about the Missouri Plan, (retention) is actually very interesting.




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Anne Boswell, anneboswell@coloradonewsyourway.com


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