May 27, 2018

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.

Nominees Selected for 18th Judicial District Court Vacancy

On Thursday, June 29, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of three nominees to fill an upcoming vacancy on the 18th Judicial District Court. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Hon. F. Stephen Collins, effective August 1, 2017.

The three nominees are Cori Alcock-Christofferson of Centennial, Richard Ferro of Centennial, and Andrew Baum of Highlands Ranch. Cori Alcock-Christofferson is at the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Richard Ferro is in the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the Office of the Colorado Attorney General. Andrew Baum is a magistrate in Arapahoe County.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has 15 days in which to select one of the nominees for appointment to the bench. Comments regarding 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.

John Scipione Appointed to Arapahoe County Court

On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, the governor appointed John Scipione to the Arapahoe County Court in the 18th Judicial District. He will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. Robert C. Tobias, effective May 31, 2017.

Scipione is currently a magistrate in the 18th Judicial District, where he presides over first appearances, felony advisements, bond hearings, and preliminary hearings for all felony cases. Prior to his work as a magistrate, Scipione worked for Taussig, Scipione & Taussig, LLC from 2011 to 2012; Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis, P.C. from 2008 to 2011; Herrold & Herrold, P.C. from 2007 to 2008; Law Cash/Esquire Capital from 2006 to 2007; and Caplis, Scipione & Deasy, LLC from 2003 to 2007. He received his law degree from the University of Colorado and his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Finalists Selected for Arapahoe County Court Vacancy

On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of three finalists to fill a vacancy on the Arapahoe County Court. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of the Hon. Robert C. Tobias, effective May 31, 2017.

The three finalists are Cori Alcock-Christofferson of Centennial, John Scipione of Highlands Ranch, and Don Toussaint of Aurora. Cori Alcock-Christofferson is at the District Attorney’s Office in the 18th Judicial District. John Scipione is a District Court Magistrate in the 18th Judicial District. Don Toussaint is at the Aurora City Attorney’s Office.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has 15 days in which to appoint one of the nominees to the Arapahoe County Court. Comments regarding any of the nominees may be submitted to the governor at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us. For more information about the nominees, 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.

Colorado Courts Celebrate National Adoption Day Throughout November

Each November, National Adoption Day is celebrated to recognize and raise awareness of the over 100,000 children in foster care awaiting permanent families. Since its inception, National Adoption Day has made the dreams of thousands of children come true through the cooperative work of courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies and advocates to finalize adoptions and find permanent, loving homes for children in foster care. In Colorado, the adoptions of 132 children will be finalized this month. Currently, 283 Colorado children await permanent families.

In 2006, for the first time, National Adoption Day was celebrated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This year, events will be held throughout the country to finalize the adoptions of more than 4,500 children in foster care, and to celebrate all families who adopt. Since 2000, more than 50,000 children have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day.

Throughout the state, courts will be celebrating Adoption Day this month. Some of the events are listed here:

  • First Judicial District (Jefferson and Gilpin counties): On Thursday, November 17, 2016, from 1 to 5 pm at the Jefferson County Courthouse, Magistrates Andrew Fitzgerald and Margaret Tims will preside over adoptions for 15 families. On Saturday, November 19, 2016, from 8:30 am to noon, Judges Margie Enquist, Gail Meinster and Tamara Russell, and Magistrate Jamin Alabiso will preside over 24 adoptions for 18 families. Cameras are welcome; contact Mallory Hyatt at (303) 271-4389 for more information.
  • Second Judicial District (Denver County): On Thursday, November 10, 2016, the Denver County Court held its National Adoption Day celebration. Forty-six children were united with 31 families. Contact Barbara Bosley, Family Court Facilitator, Denver Juvenile Court, (720) 337-0584 or (303) 638-5098 for more information.
  • Third Judicial District (Huerfano and Las Animas counties): On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, at 2 pm, Judge Leslie J. Gerbracht will preside over the adoptions of three children into two families. All families who have adopted children in the Third Judicial District are invited to attend, and cameras are welcome with the families’ permission. Contact Joanne A. Montero at (719) 497-8208 for more information.
  • Tenth Judicial District (Pueblo County): On Friday, November 18, 2016, District Court Judge David W. Crockenberg will preside over six adoptions. Expanded media coverage has been granted; contact Amanda Ledbetter at (719) 583-4716 for more information.
  • Twelfth Judicial District (Alamosa, Conejos, Castillo, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties): On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Twelfth Judicial District held a reception to honor the 27 children who were adopted into 18 families last year. Members of the public, the courts, Departments of Human Services, county attorneys, and county commissioners were in attendance. Chief Judge Pattie Swift addressed the group and discussed the important role of adoptive families in the justice system and thanked DHS staff and attorneys for the work that they do.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District (Adams and Broomfield counties): On Saturday, November 19, 2016, from 9 am to noon, nine children will be united with eight families. District Court Judges John Popovich and Jill-Ellyn Straus, as well as Magistrate Fran Simonet, will preside over the adoptions. Cameras will be allowed in the courtroom with the permission of the families. For more information, contact Simone Jones, Court Programs Coordinator, at (303) 654-3230.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln counties): On Friday, November 18, 2016, Adoption Day hearings will be held at both the Arapahoe County Courthouse and the Douglas County Courthouse. Judge Theresa Slade will preside over the adoptions of 13 children in Arapahoe County from 8:30 am to 4 pm. Magistrate Rebecca Moss will preside over eight adoptions in Douglas County from 2 to 4 pm. Cameras will be permitted in both courts with written permission of the families. For more information, contact Shaun Clark, Deputy District Administrator, at (303) 649-6382.
  • Twentieth Judicial District (Boulder County): On Friday, November 18, 2016, from 10:30 am to noon, Boulder County will host a celebration for all children adopted in Boulder County this past year. County Court Judge Elizabeth Brodsky and District Court Magistrate Monica Haenselman will be in attendance to celebrate with the families. There will be a reception, a short presentation, and crafts and games for the children. The celebration is open to the public; contact Erika Skufca at erika.skufca@judicial.state.co.us or (303) 441-4921 or Raina Lesser at raina.lesser@judicial.state.co.us or (303) 441-3744 for more information.
  • Twenty-first Judicial District (Mesa County): On Friday, November 18, 2016, from 9 am to 1 pm, District Court Judge Valerie Robison will preside over eight adoptions. An additional celebration will be held in the jury assembly room at 3 p.m. for all adopted on November 18 and in the past. Cameras will be allowed in the courtroom with permission of the families. For more information, contact Angeline Roles, Mesa County Department of Human Services, at (970) 248-2453 or angeline.roles@mesacounty.us.

For more information about Adoption Day events, click here.

18th Judicial District’s Senior Law Day and Safety Summit is October 14, 2016

2016 cover sample_Layout 1The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office will host its annual Senior Law Day and Safety Summit on Friday, October 14, 2016, at the Charles Schwab & Co. Events Center in Lone Tree (9899 Schwab Way #100, Lone Tree, CO 80124). This year’s event will focus on topics pertaining to legal, safety, and fraud awareness issues in later life. Seniors, family members, professionals in the field of aging; and individuals contemplating retirement are particularly encouraged to attend.

Registration for the event is $10, and includes a copy of the 2016 Senior Law Handbook, a boxed lunch, snacks, and an opportunity to sign up for a free consultation with an attorney on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration information is available here.

For more information, contact Barbara Martin-Worley at (720) 874-8487 or bmw@da18.state.co.us.

J. Jay Williford and Colleen Clark Appointed to Arapahoe County Court

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced Governor Hickenlooper’s appointment of J. Jay Williford and Colleen Clark to the Arapahoe County Court in the Eighteenth Judicial District. Williford and Clark will fill vacancies created by the retirement of Hon. Addison Adams and Hon. Alex R. Bencze. Clark’s appointment is effective September 30, 2016, and Williford’s appointment is effective January 1, 2017.

Clark is currently a Municipal Judge for the City of Aurora, a Magistrate in the Eighteenth Judicial District in the truancy division, and a hearing officer for Aurora Public Schools. She previously has worked in the Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and the Seventeenth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester and her law degree from from Boston University.

Williford is currently a Chief Deputy District Attorney in the Eighteenth Judicial District. Williford joined the District Attorney’s Office in 2007, where he has worked in the special victims unit. He worked in the Adams County District Attorney’s Office from 2003 through 2007. He received his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College and his law degree from the University of Denver.

For more information about the appointments, click here.

Hon. Alex R. Bencze to Retire from Arapahoe County Court

Bencze2On Thursday, July 28, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. Alex R. Bencze from the Arapahoe County Court, effective January 1, 2017. Judge Bencze was appointed to the Arapahoe County Court bench in August 1998. Prior to that, he was an attorney in private practice. He also was a staff attorney at the Colorado Public Defender’s Office until 1982. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University Northwest and his doctorate in law degree from the University of Denver.

Applications are now being accepted for the vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of Arapahoe County and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Applications are available from the State Judicial website and from the ex officio chair of the Eighteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice William Hood, III. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on August 4, 2016.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Hon. Addison Adams to Retire from Arapahoe County Court

Adams (Formatted)On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced that Judge Addison Adams of the Arapahoe County Court will retire, effective January 10, 2017. Judge Adams was appointed to the Arapahoe County Court in February 2009. He oversees a docket of traffic violations, including DUIs, hit and run, reckless driving, and driving under restraint. Prior to his appointment to the Arapahoe County Court, he was an Arapahoe County magistrate. He also has worked as a Deputy Public Defender in Adams, Denver, and Arapahoe counties; was an Assistant Attorney General in the Regulatory Law Agency; served as the Director of Metro State University’s Law Office in the Student Legal Office; and was an attorney in private practice. Judge Adams received his undergraduate degree from Hampton University in Virginia, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Colorado, a law degree from the University of Denver, and a Master of Social Work from the University of Denver.

Applications are now being accepted for the vacancy on the Arapahoe County Court. 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 and from the ex officio chair of the Eighteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice William Hood, III. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on August 4, 2016. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on July 28, 2016.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Kelly LaFave and Michael Roche Appointed to Arapahoe County Court

On Friday, June 3, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper appointed Kelly LaFave and Michael Roche to the Arapahoe County Court. LaFave and Roche will fill vacancies created by the retirement of Hon. Dana E. Murray and Hon. Christine Cauche, effective July 1, 2016.

Kelly LaFave is currently a Senior Deputy District Attorney in the Eighteenth Judicial District, where focuses on misdemeanor and felony prosecutions. LaFave was also a district attorney in Texas, a county attorney in Pima County, Arizona, and a special agent for the FBI in San Francisco. She received both her undergraduate and law degrees from Arizona State University.

Michael Roche is a founding partner of Lathrop & Gage, LLP, where he litigates complex business and commercial disputes. Prior to joining Lathrop & Gage, he was an attorney at Baker Hostetler and also clerked for Judge Howard D. McKibben of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan.

For more information about the appointments, click here.