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A USA Name: MJ Menendez

Tille: Assistant United Siaies AI/orney

Division: OCDETF Unit
September 7,2011
Chief Justice Michael Bender
United States Attorney
District olColorado
1225 Seventeenth Street, Suite 700 (303) 454-0100
Seventeenth Street Plaza (FAX) (303) 454-0400
Denver, Colorado 80202
Ex Officio Chair Supreme Court Nominating Commission
101 West Colfax Avenue, Suite 800
Denver, Colorado 80202
To the Members of the Nominating Commission:
My name is M,J, Menendez. I was asked by the Honorable Judge Brian Boatright to submit a
letter of recommendation on his behalf as he makes application for the Colorado Supreme Court. I
unequivocally support Judge Boatright's application. Please allow me to share some of my history
with Judge Boatright, as it is from such history that I know him to be a jurist, scholar, colleague, and
human being who is most worthy of appointment to the highest bench in the State of Colorado. Fair
warning; this letter is a long one, but at the conclusion I hope you will find that Judge Boatright is
deserving of a letter that thoroughly documents his professionalism, commitment, fidelity to his
mission, and character.
Judge Boatright was known to me as 'Brian' when I joined the Jefferson County District
Attorney's Office in 1994. I quickly learned that Brian willingly gave of his time to mentor young
attorneys on trial techniques, ethics, written work product, and legal culture, while he maintained a
large, active criminal docket. Brian conducted the first domestic violence trial I ever witnessed, and he
obtained a conviction on a brutal Second Degree Assault with a recanting victim. He conducted the
examination of the victim with compassion and dignity, while carrying out his sworn mission to find
justice. I now realize that the demeanor, professionalism, integrity and ability demonstrated by Brian
Boatright in that trial has been repeated daily during his service to the People of the State of Colorado
as Deputy District Attorney, and as District Court Judge. As a practitioner in the DA's Office, I
appeared before Judge Boatright on many occasions, and I sat in his courtroom on docket days
where he dealt with anywhere between fifty and eighty cases a day. Judge Boatright never deviated
from calm, professional, authoritative demeanor. He listened carefully and patiently, but he then
made the hard decision as to trial scheduling, bond setting, or sentenCing. He was born to the bench
from the beginning of his appointment.
When Judge Boatright was appointed to the Jefferson County District Court bench, I was
privileged to attend his investiture. I specifically recall Judge Boatright talking about how he had
contemplated the qualities that comprise the character of a fine judge before seeking appointment.
Brian spoke of the importance of respectful and tempered judicial demeanor, the utmost regard he
held for the law and the adversarial process, and his heart-felt hope that he would always treat all
persons, criminal defendants, family law litigants, attorneys, probation officers, and court personnel
with dignity, respect and integrity. I recall thinking, "Wow, he has some lofty principles in mind: I was
correct; his principles were and are lofty. What I could not know at that juncture was that Judge
Boatright, without fail, united his principles with action, leadership, and foresight in a manner that has
made him a reigning voice of authority, wisdom and discretion on the highly regarded Jefferson
County bench.
I am uniquely situated with regard to Judge Boatright, as I am his former colleague from the
Jefferson County District Court bench; a position I resigned on July 17, 2009. If you are asking why
Judge Boatright would ask someone who spent a time on the bench, realized it wasn't my calling, and
walked away for a letter, please know I wondered the very same. When I asked Brian, he said,
"Because you know me, you know judging, you personally know when someone is a fit for the bench,
and you have the guts to tell the truth." Please allow me to share some of that truth.
When I arrived at Jefferson County to assume a position on the District Court bench, Brian
immediately sought me out. He went over docket management, ECF filings, standard practices
regarding setting and routine rulings, and he provided encouragement around the length of time
needed to get a good grasp on a docket. He also shared his wisdom on the challenges of the black
robe. I recall him telling me, in paraphrase, as I can best recall:
You aren't going to get feedback here on whether your decision is wrong or right, or
whether you did a good job or a bad job today. You are the judge; everyone will tell
you that you did a good job. We have precedent, rule of law, our internal compasses
and each other. Once you have utilized all of those tools, you have to rest in your
decision and move forward. That is our oath. That is our solemn duty.
Time after time, I went to Judge Boatright's office to ask him all kinds of questions relating to
suppression issues, family law custody decisions, complex medical malpractice motions practice,
mistrial motions, and docket management. Judge Boatright makes no decisions without rigorous
discussion and contemplation of relevant facts, posture of the case, and pertinent legal authority, but
after considering all of those things, he makes decisions. I have watched Judge Boatright sentence
murderers, terminate family rights, and enter not guilty verdicts on horrendous personal injury trials.
His heart is compassionate, but he rules by law and not by emotion. He makes the hard decision with
integrity and certainty.
When Judge Boatright called and asked me to write this letter, he stated that he believes he
can contribute the existing wealth of authority, knowledge, experience and wisdom on the Colorado
Supreme Court through his experience as a jurist assigned to a dedicated courtroom specializing in
the legal arenas of juvenile law, dependency and neglect work, and non-dissolution I family law. In
customarily bold fashion, I asked Judge Boatright, "Is there really that much work in thse areas done
at the appellate and Supreme Court level?' Judge Boatright's answer spoke of commitment to the
rule of law in those areas, but the spoken verbiage did not convey the information that I wish to
express to you. What you should know is that Judge Boatright's commitment to the law is interwoven
with his paSSion for the people and children involved in these extraordinarily difficult, personal and
heart-wrenching cases. Judge Boatright quickly informed me about judicial cases and trends in the
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areas of juvenile law, dependency and neglect, and non-dissolution family law. He spoke to me about
his work has been on the Best Practices Juvenile Reform Committee where he serves as the
Chairperson, the Colorado Commission on Juvenile Justice -Judicial Task Force, and the Juvenile
Services Planning Committee. In humble, yet proud, fashion, Brian told me how each day and each
challenge adds a little more to the bank of experience, wisdom and empathy for the kids, parents and
the cases. Brian knows the importance of making these calls correctly because he knows the
existence and welfare of families depends on it.
As a personal aside, I was talking with Brian on a particular Thursday while I was on the bench
about his upcoming weekend plans. Judge Boatright, the father of two active children, told me he was
going to a high school football game. I was puzzled as he has no children of high school age. When I
inquired further about his plans, Judge Boatright told me of a young high school student who was
struggling, but really trying, to better his studies. The student loved playing football, but he was
unable to play because of academic ineligibility. Judge Boatright made a deal with the young person
that if the student kept his grades up and became academically eligible, the judge would attend his
football games. Brian's incentive made that young man work hard and make good choices, and
Judge Boatright was at that football game cheering him on, just as promised. Judge Boatright has
also touched Jefferson County through his dedication in spearheading the formation of the CASA
program in Jefferson County, creating the dedicated juvenile court docket where he handles virtually
all termination of rights cases, and restructuring of the Magistrate Judge assignments to better serve
the jurisdiction. He is a quiet leader, as he demonstrates his leadership by fidelity to the mission and
action, rather than words.
Personally, I know Brian and his wife Cara to be devoted parents who manage that incredibly
difficult task of putting family and vocation first, because he knows no "second". Brian has led the
Jefferson County legal community and the bench while maintaining humility and priorities in life. Brian
does not seek a seat on the Supreme Court bench for power, but for the opportunity to serve, and you
will find no better scholar or jurist than the Honorable Judge Brian Boatright. I unequivocally and
wholeheartedly speak on his behalf and I am honored to submit this letter so indicating.

Deputy Unit
Assistant United States Attorney
District of Colorado
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