Judge Rice retires after last court docket toda

Eight years after she was appointed to be the federal magistrate judge in Mesa County, Gudrun J. Rice is retiring.

“It’s been a rich, rewarding and incredibly worthwhile experience,” but “the time seemed right” to move on, Rice said Monday.

Grand Junction attorney Laird Milburn will take over, presiding in the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building, 400 Rood Ave. Milburn is expected to be sworn in Monday.

Rice was sworn in on Feb. 7, 2001, and will handle her last docket today. She will return to her private legal practice.

Magistrate judges issue arrest and search warrants, set bond and conduct detention hearings in non-felony criminal cases arising from actions on federal lands, including those administered by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Magistrate judges also prepare civil cases for trial and conduct civil trials when all parties agree.

Rice said she anticipates serving as a recall judge, handling specific cases much as senior judges do in the Colorado state court system. She will remain available to Milburn to act as a sounding board.


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