GarCo judge put on leave

Garfield County Judge Jason Jovanovich has been placed on leave.

Jon Sarche, spokesman for the Colorado State Court Administrator’s Office, said in an e-mail that Jovanovich is on leave, but he couldn’t provide further information.

Jovanovich could not be reached for comment Friday.

Ninth Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson said Friday that Garfield County’s clerk of courts, Jim Bradford, told him Tuesday that the judge was put on leave with pay. He said Bradford gave no indication as to the reasons for the action.

“I’m not going to speculate on what’s going on,” Beeson said.

Bradford declined to comment Friday.

Jovanovich works in Rifle, serving the western part of the county. He is up for a retention vote by the public this fall.

The Colorado Supreme Court website shows there is no public disciplinary history on file for Jovanovich in Colorado.

Jovanovich was appointed to his position in 2005 and was subjected to a retention vote the following year. Prior to that vote, a performance commission unanimously recommended that he be retained. In associated surveys, 96 percent of attorneys and 86 percent of non-attorneys recommended retention.

Jovanovich previously had served as a deputy district attorney in the Ninth Judicial District, and before that he had a private practice that included civil trial work.

“Unequivocally, it is my hope that Judge Jovanovich gets back on the bench as soon as possible,” Beeson said.

Jovanovich gained widespread attention in 2006 when he said that if he could, he’d kill all pit bulls, and it should be illegal to own them.

He made the comment while sentencing someone whose pit bull had attacked an elderly Silt woman, causing serious injuries.


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