New judges named in 9th, 5th districts
A Glenwood Springs attorney and a county-level judge in Lake County have been appointed to fill new judgeships in Colorado’s 9th and 5th judicial districts, respectively.
John Neiley, a partner in the law firm Neiley & Alder, was named by Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia to the post for the 9th District, which covers Garfield, Rio Blanco and Pitkin counties. Wayne Patton, now the Lake County Court judge and the Eagle County Court magistrate, will serve in the 5th District, which includes Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties. The appointments are effective July 1.
The new judgeships are the result of legislation passed earlier this year increasing judge numbers from four to five in the 9th District and five to six in the 5th.
The measure was sponsored by state Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, and state Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Frisco. The 5th District is at less than 70 percent of full judge staffing, and the 9th is at 73 percent, the two worst staffing levels in the state.
The positions will be funded by court fees, fines and penalties.
Neiley practices primarily in civil litigation with a focus on real estate transactions and land use and development. He has worked at other firms and as a staff attorney for the Federal Trade Commission’s Denver Regional Office. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and attended the University of Colorado School of Law.
Patton previously was the Summit County Court magistrate, has worked in private practice, and was the Leadville city attorney and a special county attorney for Lake County.
He attended Denison University and the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. He also served in the U.S. Army.
Nominating commissions in each district forwarded finalists to be considered for appointment. Other finalists in the 9th District included Assistant 9th District Attorney Scott Turner and defense attorney Colleen Scissors of Basalt.
In the 5th District, other finalists included Courtney Holm, an Edwards resident with a private practice, and Summit County trial lawyer Paul Dunkelman.