New judge now sought for Montrose district

The 7th Judicial District, which serves Montrose and five other Western Slope counties, is looking for a new district court judge.

Under a new law approved by the Colorado Legislature earlier this year, introduced by Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, and Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, the district is getting a new judge because Jefferson County has no more room.

A few years ago, the Colorado Legislature approved adding new judges to several judicial districts around the state, including the 1st Judicial District that includes that Front Range county. But because its courthouse is already over capacity, it doesn’t have room and agreed to give up the position. That district, which also serves Gilpin County, already has 14 district judges.

As a result, Schwartz and Coram persuaded the Legislature to transfer that judgeship to the Montrose district, which wasn’t tapped to get a new judge. The district has four district judges, seven county judges and two magistrates. In addition to Montrose, the district includes Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Ouray and San Miguel counties.

As a result of that change, the Colorado Judicial Branch is accepting applications for the new position, which pays $128,598 a year. With each new judgeship also comes up to three additional court clerks, positions that can pay up to $60,000 a year.

The districts nominating commission is to meet June 27 to review those applications. It will select up to three nominees and forward their names to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who will decide who gets the job.

Once selected, district judges serve interim terms of two years before they come up for retention by the voters. Once retained, district judges serve six-year terms.


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