February 23, 2017

Income Eligibility Guidelines Amended in Several Chief Justice Directives

On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch released updates to several Chief Justice Directives to reflect changes in the income eligibilitly guidelines. The amended Chief Justice Directives are listed here:

  • CJD 16-02, “Court Appointments Through the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel,” Attachment B amended.
  • CJD 14-01, “Appointment of State-Funded Counsel in Juvenile Delinquency Cases,” Attachment B amended.
  • CJD 04-06, “Court Appointments Through the Office of the Child’s Representative,” Attachment A amended.
  • CJD 04-05, “Appointment and Payment Procedures for Court-appointed Counsel, Guardians ad litem, Child and Family Investigators, and Court Visitors paid by the Judicial Department in proceedings under Titles 12, 13, 14, 15, 19 (special respondents in dependency and neglect only), 22, 25.5, and 27, C.R.S.,” Attachment A amended.
  • CJD 04-04, “Appointment of State-Funded Counsel in Criminal Cases and For Contempt of Court,” Attachment B amended.

For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Directives, click here.

Hon. John E. Popovich, Jr., to Retire from 17th Judicial District Court

On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. John E. Popovich, Jr. from the Seventeenth Judicial District Court, effective May 31, 2017.

Judge Popovich was appointed to the court in 1986. Prior to his appointment as a judge, he worked as a district court magistrate in the Seventeenth Judicial District. Judge Popovich has worked on a mixed docket, including civil, domestic relations, juvenile, criminal, probate, and mental health. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the Seventeenth Judicial District and must have been registered to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website and also from the ex officio chair of the Seventeenth Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Brian Boatright. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on March 20, 2017. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on March 13, 2017.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Roberto Ramirez Appointed to 17th Judicial District Court

On Thursday, February 16, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the governor’s appointment of Roberto Ramirez to the Seventeenth Judicial District Court. Ramirez will fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Hon. Craig Welling to the Colorado Court of Appeals, effective January 16, 2017.

Ramirez is currently the City of Arvada’s litigation counsel and United States Air Force’s Reserve Chief Senior Prosecutor. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. For the City of Arvada, Ramirez handles all civil litigation matters for city council, city divisions and departments, and individual employees. For the United States Air Force, he has worked legal issues as an Air Force federal prosecutor, criminal defense counsel, trial consultant, or instructor in several U.S. cities and foreign countries. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas, San Antonio and his law degree at South Texas College of Law, Houston.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Application Period Open for Vacancy on El Paso County Court

On Monday, February 13, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced a vacancy on the El Paso County Court in the Fourth Judicial District. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Hon. Jonathan Walker, effective February 15, 2017.

Applications are now being accepted for the vacancy. 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 from the State Judicial website, or from the ex officio chair of the Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice William Hood, III. Applications must be received no later than February 27, 2017. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than February 21, 2017.

For more information about the vacancy and application process, click here.

Colorado Model Criminal Jury Instructions Committee Released 2017 Update Report

On Tuesday, January 31, 2017, the Colorado Supreme Court Model Criminal Jury Instructions Committee released its 2017 update report. The report details updates to the Model Criminal Jury Instructions for 2017, including those based on changes in case law from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Colorado Supreme Court, and the Colorado Court of Appeals. There were also changes to instructions based on non-final court of appeals decisions for which certiorari petitions are pending.

The Model Criminal Jury Instructions Committee advised in its update that although the committee intends to keep the jury instructions current by providing annual updates, the updates are not fully vetted by the committee and therefore will not necessarily be included in the official jury instructions. The committee further advised, “The Reporter’s summaries are purely descriptive; they do not include recommendations for how (or whether) to draft jury instructions based on the authorities that are summarized.”

For the full text of the committee’s 2017 update, click here. For the Colorado Jury Instructions for Criminal Trials, click here.

Judge Neil Gorsuch of 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Nominated to U.S. Supreme Court

On Tuesday, January 31, 2017, the president nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court occasioned by Justice Scalia’s death.

Judge Gorsuch was appointed to the 10th Circuit in 2006 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. Prior to his appointment to the 10th Circuit, Judge Gorsuch was the principal deputy to the associate attorney general and acting associate attorney general at theU.S. Department of Justice from 2005-2006, an attorney in private practice from 1995-2005, a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy from 1994-1995, and a law clerk to Hon. David B. Sentelle of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals from 1991-1992. Judge Gorsuch received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1991 and his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in 1988. He also has a doctorate degree in philosophy, which he received from Oxford University in 1994.

Judge Gorsuch has been compared to the late Justice Scalia, in part because of his writing style. Judge Gorsuch tends to stray from the typical judicial opinion format of summary – background – applicable law – analysis – conclusion; his opinions frequently include narrative-style stories of the parties and are peppered with more colloquial language. Eric Citron wrote a profile of Judge Gorsuch for SCOTUSblog, in which he described the judge’s writing style as “exceptionally clear and routinely entertaining; he is an unusual pleasure to read.”

Congratulations to Judge Gorsuch on his nomination.

Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Amended in First Rule Change of 2017

On Monday, January 23, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced Rule Change 2017(01), effective January 12, 2017. Rule Change 2017(01) amends several rules of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. The changes to Rules 17, 40, 60, 122, 305.5, and 121 §§ 1-14, 1-19, 1-23, and 1-26, as well as the changes to JDF 1111, are effective immediately. The changes to Rules 33, 103, 403, Form 20, and forms accompanying 103 and 403, are effective March 1, 2017.

The changes to Rule 33 affect pattern interrogatories and responses. The changes are quite extensive. A comment was added to Rule 33 to explain

[1] Pattern interrogatories [Form 20, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 33(e)] have been modified to more appropriately conform to the 2015 amendments to C.R.C.P. 16, 26, and 33. A change to or deletion of a pre-2017 pattern interrogatory should not be construed as making that former interrogatory improper, but instead, only that the particular interrogatory is, as of the effective date of the 2017 rule change, modified as stated or no longer a “pattern interrogatory.”

[2] The change to C.R.C.P. 33(e) is made to conform to the holding of Leaffer v. Zarlengo, 44 P.3d 1072 (Colo. 2002).

Rules 103 and 403 were amended to conform dates to the “Rule of 7” and to provide clarification regarding garnishments. The changes to Rules 103 and 403 are substantially similar. Forms 26, 28, 29, 31, 32, and 33 were also amended. The jurat or Return of Service was removed from each form, and other changes were made to conform to the changes to Rules 103 and 403.

Rule 17 was amended to remove reference to “a married woman.” A citation was updated in Rule 41. Rule 60 was updated to conform to the “Rule of 7.” Section 1-14 of Rule 121 was amended to update the citation to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and update the date of the comment. A citation was also updated in Rule 121, § 1-19, and a date was added to the comment.

Rule 121, § 1-23 was amended to add a paragraph (7) regarding bonding over liens. The new paragraph reads:

7. Bonding over a Lien. If a money judgment has been made a lien upon real estate by the filing of a transcript of the judgment record by the judgment creditor, the lien shall be released upon the motion of the judgment debtor or other interested party if a bond for the money judgment has been approved and filed as provided in this section 1-23. The order of the court releasing the lien may be recorded with the clerk and recorder of the county where the property is located. Once the order is recorded, all proceedings by the judgment creditor to enforce the judgment lien shall be discontinued, unless a court orders otherwise.

The comment to § 1-23 was amended to add a date and paragraph numbering. The changes to § 1-26 of Rule 121 also add dates and numbers to the comment, and a new 2017 comment was added to § 1-26.

The amendments to Rule 305.5 also add dates and numbers to the comments, and a new 2017 comment was added regarding the name of the court-authorized e-filing service provider. Rule 122 was changed to update contact information requirements for appointed judges, and to remove language from the affirmation.

JDF 1111, the Sworn Financial Statement, was updated to remove language from the Certificate of Service regarding simultaneous filing of JDF 1104.

A redline of Rule Change 2017(01) is available here. For all the court’s adopted and proposed Rule Changes, click here.

Hon. Robert C. Tobias to Retire from Arapahoe County Court

On Friday, January 13, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. Robert C. Tobias from the Arapahoe County Court, effective May 31, 2017.

Judge Tobias was appointed to the Arapahoe County Court in 1995. His assignments as a judge include the felony division for arraignments and preliminary hearings and a general jurisdiction county court assignment. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Tobias was in private practice, where he practiced criminal law, domestic relations, and landlord-tenant law. He is active in the community, frequently participating in “Our Courts” events and mock trials.

Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of Arapahoe 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 the ex officio chair of the Eighteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Richard Gabriel. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on February 16, 2017, to be considered. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than February 9, 2017.

For more information on the vacancy, click here.

Michael J. Grattan, III, Appointed to Mesa County Court

On Monday, January 9, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the governor’s appointment of Michael J. Grattan, III, to the Mesa County Court. Grattan will fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Hon. Gretchen Larsen to the district court bench in the Twenty-first Judicial District, effective January 1, 2017.

Grattan is currently a solo practitioner in Grand Junction at Michael J. Grattan, III, P.C., where he offers services in both transactional law and litigation, including in the areas of business law, employment law, intellectual property law, real estate law, and arbitration and mediation. He was previously an attorney with Younge & Hockensmith, P.C., a sole practitioner and Deputy City Attorney in the City of Elkhart, Indiana, and an associate at Warrick & Boyn in Elkhart. He received his law degree from the College of William and Mary Law School and his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Application Period Open for Vacancy on Jefferson County Court

On Friday, January 6, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced an upcoming vacancy on the Jefferson County Court in the First Judicial District. The vacancy will be created by the resignation of Hon. Tammy Greene, effective April 1, 2017.

Applications are now being accepted for the vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of Jefferson County and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available from the State Judicial website or from the ex officio chair of the First Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Nathan B. Coats. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on February 6, 2017, and anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than January 30, 2017.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Vacancy Announced on Seventeenth Judicial District Court

On Tuesday, January 3, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced a vacancy on the Seventeenth Judicial District Court. The vacancy will be created by the appointment of Hon. Craig Welling to the Colorado Court of Appeals, effective January 16, 2017.

Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the Seventeenth Judicial District (Adams and Broomfield counties) and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available from Justice Allison Eid, the ex officio chair of the Seventeenth Judicial District Nominating Commission, and are also available on the State Judicial website. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on January 17, 2017. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than January 11, 2017.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Application Period Open for Crowley County Court Vacancy

On Thursday, December 30, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced an upcoming vacancy on the Crowley County Court in the Sixteenth Judicial District. The vacancy will be created by the resignation of Hon. Suzanne A. Grant, effective April 15, 2017.

Applications are now being accepted for the vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of Crowley County and must have graduated high school or attained the equivalent. Application forms are available from Justice Monica Marquez, the ex officio chair of the Sixteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission, or on the State Judicial website. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on February 3, 2017, in order to be considered. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than January 27, 2017.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.