Suspended judge won’t try to stay in office

Suspended Garfield County Judge Jason Jovanovich has decided not to seek retention by voters in the Nov. 2 election.

Jovanovich e-mailed his decision to the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation on Friday. He had faced a 5 p.m. deadline Monday to file with the Secretary of State’s Office if he intended to seek another term of office.

His decision means his evaluation won’t be included among those released by performance commissions for Colorado judges up for retention this year.

Jovanovich was appointed to his position in 2005 and worked in Rifle.

He was placed on leave, reportedly with pay, on May 4. He remains on leave, said Rob McCallum, a spokesman for the Colorado Judicial Branch.

He said Jovanovich’s term of office ends Jan. 11.

McCallum said a news release will be issued seeking applicants for the judgeship. A nominating commission will review them and select nominees for the governor, who will appoint a new judge, he said.

McCallum’s office has not elaborated on the reason Jovanovich is on leave. However, several state court employees told the 9th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance that Jovanovich made inappropriate comments in court and treated the employees in an intimidating manner.

That commission is not disciplinary; it makes recommendations to voters about whether judges should be retained.

Jovanovich has not commented publicly about his status. Several defense attorneys have spoken on his behalf, saying he often connected with defendants by discussing his own life experiences during sentencings.


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