Friday Open Thread

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.”

–Bill Clinton

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41 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnes says:

    Today is National Mole Day. Animal.

  2. kwtree says:

    More music, please! Bring back Friday Jams. Here's Playing for Change's newest, a global retake on Robertson's "The Weight". Michael will see a friend in here.

     

  3. Genghis says:

    Mitch McConnell is looking positively necrotic. Any irresponsibly wild speculation about what's going on with him?

  4. Duke Cox says:

    We, here at the Edge o'the World Ranch, are finishing our ballots today. We will take them into town tomorrow. I am looking for opinions on the judge retention choices. I read the JPEs, but if anyone has personal experience I would appreciate hearing it. I am looking for their propensity to leave politics out of their juris prudence.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      @Duke: here's what right wing former state senator John Andrews has to say about the judicial retention votes and how he voted:

      "On judges, I also cast a uniform NO vote. Many devoted public servants serve on the bench, but Colorado's judicial performance ratings are toothless and judges' ego needs taking down a peg."

      FWIW, I read the same JPEs and voted YES to retain all. One generally has to pass a high quality test to even be considered for the bench. So I'm not thinking the judicial performance reviews are "toothless."

      • The realist says:

        No, they're definitely not toothless. The laws/regs regarding the judicial performance evaluation process have been tightened up and expanded over the years. Interim evals are done in non-election years to give feedback to the judges, and judicial performance commissions can ask for performance improvement plans. 

    • kwtree says:

      I don't know if you have Judge Burback on your ballot or if he's just Jeffco – I don't remember. But he is well known for giving extra-heavy sentences to black and brown folks for equal offenses. He also rushes people through his court.

      • Voyageur says:

        The fact that you didn’t even know that Burback is a Jeffco judge is enough to discredit your casual and unresearched opinion, kwtree. His evaluations are excellent and he spends a lot of time providing pro bono services to the needy.  Like most judges in the big counties, he struggles with an enormous workload but tries hard to be fair.  The judicial performance commission voted 10-0 to recommend his retention.

        The only thing I found negative about him was that he put a wife abuser in jail for two years — the maximum sentence — for a repeat offense of domestic violence. The man was a serial offender and beat his girlfriend with a cane. He later said “Next time I’ll kill her. My family will take care of that bitch.”

         His lawyer claimed he was dying of cirrhosis of the liver and should be freed to die at home with his family.  The chance that he would kill or maim another victim outweighed that concern in the judge’s mind–and mine.

        Given your own history of abuse by violent men, I think you should have appreciated the judge’s efforts to protect a battered woman from further abuse or even murder.

         

        We need more judges like Burback who protect women from violent abuse.

        • Duke Cox says:

          Thanks for the opinion V., but he isn't on my ballot. Just the state wide races and one in the 9thJD. I listed their names in the reply to kwt.

        • kwtree says:

          Burback can be both good on jailing DV offenders, but bad on disparate and discriminatory sentencing. And he is. The evidence is just anecdotal so far, but there are many anecdotes. 

          I knew that Duke probably didn’t have Judge Burback on his ballot. I chose to bring Burback up because we were talking about judges who should not be retained. Burback shouldn’t be.

          You’re still trying to make everything personal, V, and getting  in a few personal insults while you’re at it. I will thank you not to drag in my personal history as an abuse survivor to make your own dubious political points. You don’t own that history, and you don’t have my permission to use it. Speak for yourself, not others. 

          I mentioned Burback’s reputation because it’s well known among people advocating for justice reform in Jeffco, including attorneys, clients, and justice organizations. White men  who committed the same crime of driving under the influence as my son in law, without any accidents, property damage, or victims, were  sentenced by Burback to work release, or other combinations of fines, restitution, car monitors,  and counseling. They didn’t have to give up their livelihoods, homes, and families for victimless crimes. 

          Black and brown men get 6 months to a year in jail for the same offenses as whites.  It’s how Burback rolls, and people in his courtroom know it. 

           

          • Voyageur says:

            To be blunt, tree, that is bullshit.  You did zero research, as evidenced by the fact that you said you didn’t even know he was just a county judge.

            Now, you admit you are just nursing a grudge because he sent your son-in-law to jail for DUI.  Personally, I’ll go with the careful evaluations of the Judicial performance commission _ which found no evidence at all to support your claim of bigotry and voted 10-0 to urge his retention  

            it is not an insult to note that you have been a victim of the very domestic violence that Burback punished in the Garcia case.   It’s a fact that you have long shouted from the rooftops.

            I cited the Garcia case because the perp was Hispanic and it was absolutely the only thing I found on line about Burback other than the highly favorable commission evaluations in 2016 and 2020.

            I challenge you to cite a single piece of objective evidence to back up your venom — other than your Trump-like “many people think…”

            OK, we now know you’re pissed that a judge sent your son in law to jail for DUI.  At least I smoked out your prejudice.  But didn’t the same judge release him when COVID made such incarceration dangerous?  I think you said so at the time.

             

            Next time you go the poison pen-route remember the law of holes. Your second attack on Burback just showed the cause of your bias by revealing your son-in-law’s drunk driving record.

            Stop digging!

            • Voyageur says:

              To Jeffco Polsters

              The Facts on Judge Burback:

              Honorable Bradley Allen Burback 

              Retention year: 2020
              Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard

               

              The First Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously agrees by a vote of 10-0 that Judge Bradley Allen Burback MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.

              Judge Burback presides over a mixed docket with most cases covering misdemeanor, traffic, criminal, and civil cases.  County court continuously sets a record number of trials each year.  This heavy caseload presents significant challenges to all the county court judges, not the least of which is managing a fast-paced docket and ensuring that cases are ready for trial.  There is a perception among the lawyers that frequently practice in Judge Burback's courtroom that he rushes cases through his docket at the expense of trying cases.  The Commission recommends that Judge Burback foster an atmosphere where litigants feel that they got their day in court, rather than resolving cases quickly and encouraging settlements.  Because of this, it may also appear that Judge Burback struggles with case management. 

              To assess Judge Burback’s performance, the Commission conducted an interview, read opinions he authored, observed him in court, reviewed comments received from interested parties, and considered survey responses from those who have had experience with Judge Burback.  From the surveys, Judge Burback received an overall grade of 3.4, on a 4.0 scale, compared to the 3.4 overall score of all county judges in Colorado.  Of the attorney responses, 88 percent agreed that Judge Burback meets performance standards, while 6 percent indicated that he does not meet performance standards, and 6 percent had no opinion.  Only one non-attorney responded to the survey, indicating they had no opinion.
              His performance across categories of case management, application and knowledge of the law, communications, diligence, and demeanor demonstrate that he meets or exceeds performance standards.  The survey responses mentioned Judge Burback’s strong communication skills.  He is clear, concise, and personable.  No matter what kind of case is presented, Judge Burback creates an atmosphere where people feel valued.  One surveyor was delighted to meet Judge Burback post trial, sharing it was an interesting trial, with an unexpected outcome, yet he learned a lot, stating the Judge was “fantastic, on point, and did a great job.” 

              Judge Burback has been a judicial officer since 2006, as he shared, “public service is my career.” Judge Burback received his BA degree from Colorado State University and his law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.  Before his appointment to the court, Judge Burback was a Deputy District Attorney and a District Court Magistrate for the First Judicial District. Judge Burback also served as a judge advocate in the U.S. Navy.  Outside of the courtroom, he volunteers for Operation Standby, a pro bono project through the American Bar Association to assist U.S. military members and their dependents with legal issues. 

            • kwtree says:

              What part of “It’s anecdotal” do you not understand? The data on racial identities of Burback’s sentenced clients  is not available to the public. I know, because I looked. It might be available to paralegals or lawyers, for a fee. Have at it, if you’re so determined that no charge of racism against any white  person  in criminal justice shall stand. Be my guest.

              But my son in law’s attorney, his friends, and the justice organizations I contacted on his behalf, all said that Burback handed out harsher sentences to brown folks. Advocacy organizations have no part in the judge review process, but they should have

              To date, Judges are not evaluated on the criteria of racially disparate sentencing. They are evaluated on demeanor, clarity, etc. Burback was perceived as “rushing people through”  and the commission’s recommendation was that he foster an atmosphere in which litigants feel that they got their day in court. 6% felt he didn’t meet performance standards. 

              Racial disparity and inequity in sentencing may become a criteria for judge retention in the future. in the push to reimagine and reform prisons, sentencing,  justice, and public safety, data should be made available.

              You may not like my opinion that Burback shouldn’t be retained; you don’t like any accusations of racism against white males. So if you want me to “stop digging”, and get Burback’s name out of the search engines,  then stop replying to my posts. 

              And you still do not have my permission to post about my personal history. 

              • Voyageur says:

                Sorry, flightless bird, God didn’t die and leave you in charge.  I don’t need your “permission” to challenge your biased, self-serving bullshit.

                Now, you pretended to have done some research on the judge.  But you opened your smear by saying:  “I don’t know if Burback is on your ballot or if he’s just a Jeffco Judge…”

                 Boy, that’s heavy research!  You don’t even know if he’s a county, district or state judge!

                Ohh, but your an expert because your drunk-driving son-in-law said it was unfair to send him to jail for his crime!

                What a genius in thelaw you are.  I post the actual performance review and you blow “anecdotes” out of your ass!

                keep p on digging deeper into your hole, flightless.  My guess is that you’re drunk again and don’t realize what a fool you’re making out of yourself.

                Cue: “Ride of the Valkyries”.  The drunk driver’s mother in law is about to reform our courts and get drunk drivers the respect they deserve!

                 

                • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                  Judge Burback is (first comment) "well known for giving extra heavy sentences to black and brown folks for equal offenses"

                  "Well known" by who? when? "Equal offenses" compared to what or who? If this guy is so bad, how come I don't recall any mention of him in the periodic Lakewood Watchdog newspaper?

                  "The evidence is just anecdotal so far, but there are many anecdotes." Sorry, but that's also known as hearsay.

                  "My son-in-law's attorney, his friends (unnamed of course), and the justice organizations I contacted on his behalf, all said……"  More hearsay. Better quit while you're "ahead."

                  • kwtree says:

                    I never said it wasn't hearsay. That's kind of summed up in "It's anecdotal". As you may have noticed, when there is data to dig into, I dig into it. There is no database I have access to that correlates judge sentences with race of offenders. That may change with future justice and crime legislation.

                    That doesn't mean that I'm lying. I'm not going to post the names or stories of others who were unfairly sentenced by Burback. You may have noticed that certain Polsters relish using personal and sensitive information out of context when attacking on unrelated matters. 

                    And…You're relying on the Lakewood Watchdog for judge recommendations? Really?  I thought you didn't like kneejerk right wing Republican politics. They endorsed Ramey Johnson. Think about that.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      "That doesn't mean I'm lying."

                       then you say "6 percent say he doesn't meet performance standards."

                       Then you neglect to say "88 percent say he DOES meet performance standards."

                       If that's not a lie, flightless bird, what is?

                    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                      I find the Lakewood Watchdog amusing. The city also doesn't like them as it's created some legal issues for the Watchdog. Scott Gessler is their attorney.

                • kwtree says:

                  sigh. Same shit different day. Any charge of bias against any random white male * deserves total nuclear retaliation and character assassination from V.  Woohoo!

                  Burback is biased, and shouldn’t be retained. That’s my opinion, based on personal experience and anecdotes from others, which I have the same right to post here as any other polster. You don’t like it – tough shit.

                  Most Pols readers have already voted, and none of them are breathlessly awaiting the kwtree endorsement of any particular Jeffco judge.

                  However, you have inspired me to post an anti-Burback retention tweet on Twitter. So there’s that.  Keep it up… Maybe women in your world shut up when you tell them once, but I don’t.

                  * Pretty sure Denver voter V never heard of Jeffco Judge Burback before I posted about him. It’s just a knee jerk reaction to a perceived attack on the “tribe”.

                  • Voyageur says:

                    Keep digging deeper.  Tell us more about the judges who sentence the criminals in your family!

                    I do feel sorry for your son in law whose misdeeds are plastered all over the Internet by a blatherskite mother-in-law.

                    Again, care to out any more members of your family as convicted criminals?

                     

      • Duke Cox says:

        Thanks for the reply. He is not on our ballot.

        Hart, Samour, Tow, Weiling, and Lynch (9th JD) are the specific ones.

        • Genghis says:

          I vote yes on Supreme Court Justices Samour and Hart as well as Court of Appeals Judges Welling and Tow. Went back and forth on Judge Tow, but positive experiences with him when he was a trial court judge ultimately outweighed the less-than-completely-positive info in his eval. I know nothing at all about Judge Lynch.

          Up here in the 17th District we have one of the two judges in the state who got a “does not meet performance standards” recommendation.

  5. notaskinnycook says:

    Deleted.

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