Ninth, Fifth judicial districts to add one judge each

Applications are being sought for new judges after passage of a law earlier this year to expand the number of judges in Colorado’s 9th and 5th judicial districts.

State Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, and state Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Frisco, sponsored the legislation that will increase judge numbers from four to five in the 9th District and five to six in the 5th District.

The 9th District consists of Garfield, Rio Blanco and Pitkin counties. The 5th consists of Eagle, Lake, Summit and Clear Creek counties.

According to a news release from state Senate Democrats last month, the 5th District is at less than 70 percent of full judge staffing, and the 9th District is at 73 percent, the two worst staffing levels in the state.

At the same time, civil case-loads have grown 69 percent and 71 percent, respectively, in the 9th and 5th districts since 2005, the news release said. The 9th District’s caseload related to foreclosures and tax liens grew by 1,147 percent over the last decade.

The expansions won’t cost taxpayers. The money will come from the Judicial Stabilization Cash Fund, which is derived from court fees, fines and penalties. The bill allocated up to $635,476 for the judges, six full-time-equivalent support staff, court program and related costs, and another $141,498 for courthouse capital expenses.

The judgeships become effective July 1.

The Colorado Judicial Department said in a news release Thursday that the 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet at the Garfield County Courthouse in Glenwood Springs May 17 to interview and select nominees for appointment by the governor. Applicants must be qualified electors within the district and have been admitted to the practice of law in Colorado for five years. The salary is $128,598 and the new judges will serve a provisional term of two years, to be followed by a six-year term if retained by voters.

For more information on applying, visit http://www.courts.state.co.us/Careers/Judge.cfm.

 

Also, anyone can suggest a candidate by submitting a letter to any member of the nominating commission, with a copy to the ex officio chair, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, by 4 p.m. April 10.

Ninth Judicial District commission members include Julie Goldstein, Basalt; Sharon Day and Shirley (Anna) Smith, Meeker; Michael Sawyer, Glenwood Springs; Matthew Ferguson, Snowmass Village; and Katherine (Katie) Hays and Katherine Potter, Rifle. Their addresses, and one for Hobbs, are available by viewing the announcement at the above website.


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