June 23, 2018

Hon. Thomas R. Ensor to Retire from 17th Judicial District Court

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. Thomas R. Ensor from the 17th Judicial District Court, effective September 28, 2018. Judge Ensor was appointed to the Adams County Court in the 17th Judicial District in 1978, and was appointed to the district court in 1984. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Ensor was a Deputy District Attorney in the 17th Judicial District. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University and his law degree from Indiana University School of Law.

Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the 17th Judicial District and must have been licensed to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website, or from the ex officio chair of the 17th Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Monica Marquez. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on July 17, 2018, in order to be considered; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than July 10, 2018.

For more information on the vacancy, click here.

Hon. Stephen J. Sletta and Hon. Regina Walter to Retire from El Paso County Court

On Thursday, June 15, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. Stephen J. Sletta and Hon. Regina Walter. Both judges sit on the El Paso County Court, and their retirements will be effective on January 7, 2019.

Judge Sletta was appointed to the El Paso County Court in 1991. He mostly presides over a docket of civil cases, including traffic violations and misdemeanor charges. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was in private practice for 15 years. He received his undergraduate degree from Colorado College and his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law.

Judge Walter was appointed to the El Paso County Court in August 2008. Prior to her appointment, she was an El Paso County Court magistrate for 21 years, working in the juvenile court. She was also a deputy public defender prior to her appointment as a magistrate. She received her undergraduate degree from Colorado College and her law degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Applications are now being accepted for both upcoming vacancies. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of El Paso County and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website or from Justice Carlos A. Samour, Jr., the ex officio chair of the Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on July 23, 2018; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than July 16, 2018.

For more information about the vacancies, click here.

Rule Change 2018(07) Released, Amending Colorado Appellate Rules

On Friday, June 8, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch released Rule Change 2018(07), adopted by the Colorado Supreme Court on June 7 and effective July 1, 2018. The rule change Form 8, “Designation of Transcripts,” in the Appendix to Chapter 32, and also amends Rules 21, 21.1, 49, 50, 51, 51.1, 52, 53, 54, 56 and 57.

While some of the changes are relatively minor, many of the rules were dramatically amended. A redline and a clean copy of the rule change is available here. Appellate practitioners are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the rule changes before their July 1 effective date.

For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.

Mandatory Continuing Legal and Judicial Education Age Requirements Changing July 1, 2018

On March 15, 2018, the Colorado Supreme Court adopted changes to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure affecting mandatory continuing legal and judicial education. One of the changes that will have the broadest application is a change to the age requirements for mandatory continuing legal and  judicial education.

The current rules specify that attorneys who attain the age of 65 years are no longer required to obtain or track CLE credits. The rule change extends that age to 72 years, and attorneys who are currently exempt from tracking CLE credits due to their age will once again be required to comply with CLE reporting requirements until they attain 72 years of age.

The Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel released a helpful guide on how to proceed if you are between the ages of 65 and 72 years:

How will this work?

If you are currently exempt from mandatory CLE based on your age and are not yet 72 years old, you will again become subject to the requirements and your compliance period begins this year and ends December 31, 2021. For those of you who will be turning 65 this year or in 2019 and have not yet become exempt, your compliance period will automatically be extended to December 31, 2021. Once you turn age 72, you will again become exempt from the CLE requirements.

What happens if you turn age 72 before December 31, 2021?

You will become exempt during your first re-entry compliance period, and therefore it is up to you to what extent you wish to enter your CLE activities on your official transcript. Additionally, pursuant to the new rule, even once you become exempt, you will continue to be able to enter your CLE activities on your official transcript. This will allow you to continue to track your CLE, even though not required, for your own use. The Office of Continuing Legal and Judicial Education will be making changes to your CLE record over the next few months and will be ready for the July 1, 2018 effective date, so that you may begin entering your CLE credits online at that time.

CBA-CLE Classic Pass

CBA-CLE has developed a “Classic Pass” geared exclusively toward attorneys who were previously exempt from CLE reporting requirements. The Classic Pass is a subscription service that will allow attorneys to fulfill their CLE requirements for a reasonable price. For more information about the Classic Pass or to order your subscription, please contact Mary Dilworth at mdilworth@cobar.org.

Application Period Open for 18th Judicial District Court Vacancy

On Monday, June 4, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced that the application period is open for a vacancy on the 18th Judicial District Court. This vacancy was created by the appointment of Hon. Carlos A. Samour, Jr., to the Colorado Supreme Court, effective July 1, 2018.

Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the 18th Judicial District and must have been licensed to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website, or from the ex officio chair of the 18th Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Richard Gabriel. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, June 18, 2018 in order to be considered; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on June 11, 2018.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Carlos A. Samour, Jr., Appointed to Colorado Supreme Court

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper announced the appointment of Hon. Carlos A. Samour, Jr., to the Colorado Supreme Court. He will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Justice Nancy Rice, effective July 2, 2018.

Samour is currently the Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial District. He has been recognized frequently for presiding over the Aurora movie theater shooting trial. He was appointed to the 18th Judicial District Court in 2006 and became Chief Judge in 2014. Prior to his work on the 18th Judicial District Court, Samour was a deputy district attorney in Denver for 10 years. He was also at Holland & Hart in private practice for five years. He has also clerked for Judge Robert McWilliams of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. He received his law degree from the University of Denver with honors, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. He is a Colorado native and avid Broncos fan.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Hon. Joel M. Carson Appointed to Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals

On Friday, May 18, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals announced the appointment of Hon. Joel M. Carson to the Tenth Circuit. Judge Carson was nominated in December 2017, and his nomination was confirmed by the Senate on May 15, 2018. Prior to his appointment, Carson was a partner at Carson Ryan LLC in New Mexico, where he specialized in oil and gas law, regulatory issues, litigation, and appellate law. He was also a part-time magistrate judge for the District of New Mexico. He received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas Tech University and his law degree from the University of New Mexico. His chambers will be in Roswell, New Mexico.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Finalists Selected for Upcoming Colorado Supreme Court Vacancy

On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of three finalists to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Colorado Supreme Court. The vacancy will occur upon the retirement of Chief Justice Nancy Rice, effective July 1, 2018.

The three finalists are Maria Berkenkotter, former Chief Judge of the 20th Judicial District Court; Karen Brody, District Court Judge in the 2nd Judicial District; and Carlos A. Samour, Jr., Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial District Court. Judge Berkenkotter has been with the Judicial Arbiter Group (JAG) since January 2018, following her 2017 retirement from the 20th Judicial District Court. She was appointed to the 20th Judicial District Court in 2006 and became Chief Judge in 2013. Judge Brody was appointed to the 2nd Judicial District Court in March 2014. Prior to her appointment, she was a member and owner at Lowe, Fell & Skogg, LLC, where she practiced general commercial litigation with a subspecialty in the areas of real estate and eminent domain law. Judge Samour was appointed to the 18th Judicial District Court in January 2007 and became Chief Judge in 2014. Prior to his appointment, he was with Holland & Hart and also worked at the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

Under the Colorado constitution, the governor has 15 days within which to appoint one of the nominees to the Colorado Supreme Court. Comments about any of the nominees may be submitted to the governor via email at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us. For more information about the nominees, click here.

Cynthia Dianne Mares Appointed to 18th Judicial District Court

On Thursday, May 10, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper appointed Cynthia Dianne Mares to the 18th Judicial District Court. Mares will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. Paul A. King, effective July 2, 2018.

Mares is currently an associate judge on the Aurora Municipal Court, where her docket includes criminal matters, traffic infractions, and violations of municipal ordinances. Prior to her work on the Aurora Municipal Court, she was the Arapahoe County Public Trustee. She was Assistant Regulation Counsel at the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel from 2005 to 2012, and a Deputy State Public Defender with the Colorado Public Defender’s Office from 1990 to 2005.

Mares is also active in the legal community. She is a past-president of the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. She also is a member of the Colorado Womens Bar Association, the Colorado Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. She also is a board member for the Colorado Mexican Cultural Center and a member of the Colorado Gaming Commission.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Jessica Yates Appointed as New Regulation Counsel in Light of Jim Coyle’s Retirement

On Monday, April 30, 2018, the Colorado Supreme Court announced its appointment of Jessica Yates as Regulation Counsel at the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. Yates will replace current Regulation Counsel Jim Coyle, who is retiring on June 30, 2018. Jim has been with the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel for 28 years, including five years as Regulation Counsel.

Yates is currently a partner at Snell & Wilmer, LLP, where she concentrates her practice in litigation and appeals in both federal and state courts, as well as business issues and negotiations. She has experience in commercial disputes, consumer lending litigation for institutional clients, condemnation/eminent domain, contract negotiations, government procurement and private contract disputes, environmental law, real estate and construction litigation, special districts/local government and insurance coverage disputes. She is also head of Snell & Wilmer’s Ethics Committee, in which capacity she is responsible for ethics compliance and providing guidance to attorneys on matters involving ethics and professional responsibility. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She also received an M.A. degree at the University of York in England.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Application Period Open for Magistrate Judge Vacancy on U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

On April 14, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado announced a vacancy for a Magistrate Judge. The position is part-time for a term of four years and is located in Durango, Colorado. The duties of the magistrate judge are outlined in 28 U.S.C. § 636, as follows:

In criminal cases, the duties of the part-time Magistrate Judge in Durango are specified in the Western Slope protocol. They include: (1) issuance of search warrants; (2) conducting preliminary proceedings; (3) presiding over the trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases; and (4) upon reference, hearing and making recommendations on pretrial motions and, upon consent of the parties, conducting change of plea hearings and giving appropriate advisements in accordance with Fed. R. Crim. P. 11 in felony cases. In civil cases, the duties of a part-time magistrate judge include: (1) conducting various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings on delegation from a district judge, and (2) under certain specified conditions, trial and disposition of civil cases upon the consent of the parties.

Qualified applicants must:

  1. Be, and for the prior five years have been, a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a state, the District of Columbia, the  Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Virgin Islands of the United States;
  2. Have been engaged in the active practice of law for a period of at least five years (with some substitutes authorized);
  3. Be competent to perform all the duties of the office. This includes, but is not limited to being of good moral character, being emotionally stable and mature, being committed to equal justice under the law, being in good health, being patient and courteous, and being capable of deliberation and decisiveness;
  4. Be less than seventy years old; and
  5. Not be related to a judge of the district court.

Additionally, applicants must complete an FBI full-field investigation and an IRS tax check.

Applications are available on the U.S. District Court’s website, and must be submitted via email to cod_magistratejudge_durangosubmissions@cod.uscourts.gov. Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on May 18, 2018, to be considered. Questions from applicants may be directed to Mrs. Louise Wilson, Human Resources Administrator, at (303) 335-2490.

For more information about the position, click here.

Rules of Civil Procedure, JDF 601, and Form 4 Amended in Rule Changes 2018(05) and 2018(06)

On Thursday, April 12, 2018, the Colorado Supreme Court issued two rule changes. Rule Change 2018(05) amends Form 4, “Petition for Postconviction Relief Pursuant to Crim. P. 35(c),” and Rule Change 2018(06) amends Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 16.1, “Simplified Procedure for Civil Actions,” and JDF 601, “District Court Civil Case Cover Sheet for Initial Pleading of Complaint, Counterclaim, Cross-Claim, or Third-Party Complaint and Jury Demand.”

The changes to C.R.C.P. 16.1 are extensive, and contain multiple changes to the first several subsections, including “Purpose of Simplified Procedure,” “Actions Subject to Simplified Procedure,” “Civil Cover Sheet,” “Motion for Exclusion from Simplified Procedure,” and more. There is also new Comment to the Rule that explains the reasoning for the changes.

For the full text of the 2018 rule changes, click here. For all of the court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.