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Failure to retain Woods ‘political’

I am a retired judge from Archuleta County. While I have not observed former Judge Anne Woods as a judge, she appeared before me several times and was professional. The Restorative Justice approach she utilized is widely accepted throughout the country, including in the La Plata County Court for many years, having been introduced by Judge Martha Minot years ago.

The fact that the District Attorney’s office disagreed with her on three cases is expected. I practiced for 50 years and every judge will have persons who disagree with his or her decisions and also some cases that turn out badly, despite the judge’s efforts regardless of whether restorative or punitive approaches are taken.

The dangerous aspect of the failure to retain her is that it was not because of misconduct or a failure to use her best efforts. It was likely the result of the local Republican Party’s decision to intervene in a nonpartisan election for political purposes.

While political parties have a role to play in judicial retention elections and 1st Amendment rights, calling for a judge to not be retained over three cases out of hundreds is a shame for Woods and La Plata County.

James Denvir

Pagosa Springs