Grand Junction judge takes top state honor

David Bottger



A 28-year veteran of the bench, 21st Judicial District Chief Judge David Bottger has pondered the deadly serious and the silly.

“We were talking about elk droppings today,” Bottger said Friday, recalling testimony in a civil lawsuit trial.

Whether Bottger is refereeing felons or fecal matters in Mesa County, the Colorado Judicial Branch said Friday he is one of the best at what he does. In a news release, the state’s judicial office named Bottger the Colorado Judicial Branch’s Judicial Officer of the Year. The Colorado Judicial Branch employs some 3,400 people, including 316 justices, magistrates and judges.

The state branch annually recognizes a handful of judicial employees for excellence, the news release said.

“Obviously, I’m honored,” said Bottger, 60. “There are an awful lot of good judges throughout Colorado. But to be nominated by the people in your district, and having the respect of the people you actually work with, is the best honor of all.”

Twenty-first Judicial District Administrator Judy Vanderleest praised the longtime judge as thoughtful and constantly seeking feedback from employees and attorneys.

Bottger’s door is always open, and he personally responds to letters of complaint, Vanderleest said.

“Although he might not always agree with what we want or believe, he challenges us to consider different viewpoints and isn’t afraid to make a decision that might not be popular,” she said.

Bottger was named magistrate judge in 1983 and was appointed to the district court bench in 1987.


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