Five judges keep jobs in 3 regional districts

Five judges in three western Colorado judicial districts on Tuesday easily won new terms.

In Mesa County’s 21st Judicial District, voters opted to keep County Court Judge Craig Henderson and County Court Judge Gretchen Larson by nearly identical three-to-one margins. Henderson was retained with 37,252 yes votes, 76 percent, against 12,047 votes, or 24 percent. Voters kept Larson with 37,252 votes, while 12,058 were against her retention, or 24 percent.

A former prosecutor, Henderson was appointed to the bench in 2006 by Gov. Bill Owens. Larson, another former prosecutor who along with Henderson worked under Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, also was appointed to the bench in 2006.

Mesa County’s 10-person judicial performance commission voted 9-0 in recommending both judges be retained. Commission members, including attorneys and non-attorney, are appointed by the governor.

Voters in Delta County also retained County Court Judge Sandra Miller, 7,867, or 68 percent, to 3,732, or 32 percent. Miller served on the bench in Delta County since 2001 and formerly worked as chief deputy prosecutor for the 7th Judicial District.

Voters in Garfield, Rio Blanco and Pitkin counties also kept 9th Judicial District Chief Judge James Boyd, with 15,635 voting to retain, opposed by 4,737 votes. Boyd’s colleague, Judge Daniel Petre received 15,159 votes to retain, which was opposed by 5,176 votes. Boyd and Petre have held their respective positions since 2002.

County court judges in Colorado face voters every four years, while counterparts in district court face voters every six years. Since lawmakers created statewide commissions on judicial performance in 1988, 16 “do not retain” recommendations have been made. Ten judges have been forced from office by voters.

Judicial performance commissions in Colorado counties recommended voters retain 88 of 90 Colorado judges who were up for a vote Tuesday.


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