On Friday, August 26, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch released an amended version of Chief Justice Directive 95-01, “Authority and Responsibility of Chief Judges,” effective August 24, 2016. The changes to the Chief Justice Directive were minor; section 3 of the Directive was amended to clarify the Chief Justice’s authority to designate a presiding county court judge in each county with more than one county court judge. Click here to read the directive; click here for all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Directives.
Bills Regarding County of Residence for Judicial Nominees, Veterans’ Property Tax Exemptions, and More Signed
On Thursday, May 26, and Friday, May 27, 2016, the governor signed five bills into law. To date, the governor has signed 204 bills this legislative session. The bills signed last week include a bill modifying the definition of “disabled veteran” as it relates to the property tax exemption, a bill encouraging judicial nominating commissions to give preference to licensed attorneys who reside in the county where the vacancy is to occur, and more. Last week’s bills are summarized here.
- HB 16-1462 – Concerning a Modification to the Provisions Enacted in House Bill 11-1155 to Authorize Combining the Full-Time Equivalent Employment of the Lieutenant Governor and the State Chief Operating Officer, by Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst and Sens. Lucia Guzman & Cheri Jahn. The bill allows the Lieutenant Governor to serve as the state’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) through the end of the current term of office, January 10, 2019.
- HB 16-1289 – Concerning Incentives for Local Education Providers to Encourage High School Students to Successfully Complete Career Development Course Work, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Daneya Esgar and Sens. Larry Crowder & Leroy Garcia. The bill creates the Career Development Success Pilot Program, which is designed to provide financial incentives for participating districts and charter schools to encourage high school students to enroll in and successfully complete qualified industry-certificate programs, internship or preapprenticeship programs, and advanced placement courses.
- HB 16-1444 – Concerning the Definition of a “Qualifying Disabled Veteran” as it Relates to a Property Tax Exemption for Such Individuals, by Reps. Su Ryden & Terri Carver and Sens. Andy Kefalas & Larry Crowder. The bill expands the definition of “Qualifying Disabled Veteran” for the Colorado property tax exemption to include veterans with a full medical retirement.
- SB 16-134 – Concerning Professional Licensing for Military Veterans in Certain Professions, by Sens. Rollie Heath & Leroy Garcia and Reps. Jessie Danielson & Daniel Kagan. The bill requires that a military veteran’s service experience be considered toward commercial driver’s license qualifications, and the Department of Revenue must consider a military veteran’s training, education, or experience during the CDL licensing process, and may provide credit toward a CDL for those qualifications.
- SB 16-153 – Concerning Nominees for County Court Judges, by Sen. Larry Crowder and Rep. Jim Wilson. The bill encourages judicial nominating commissions to give preference for judicial vacancies to licensed attorneys who reside within the county in which the vacancy occurs.
For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2016 legislative decisions, click here.
SB 16-153: Encouraging Nominating Commissions to Give Preferences to Attorneys in the County for County Court Vacancies
On March 11, 2016, Sen. Larry Crowder and Rep. Jim Wilson introduced SB 16-153 – Concerning Nominees for County Court Judges. The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. It passed through both the House and Senate without amendments and is awaiting the governor’s signature.
This bill encourages judicial district nominating commissions to give preference to attorneys who reside in the county in which the vacancy occurs.
Specifically, under C.R.S. § 13-6-206(2), the amended bill provides that if a vacancy opens for a county judge, the judicial district nominating commission should give preference to (1) persons who reside in the county in which the vacancy occurs, and (2) persons who have been admitted to practice law in the State of Colorado.
Mark Proust is a 2016 J.D. Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
The Colorado Supreme Court is requesting comments regarding a proposed jurisdictional increase for Colorado’s county courts. The proposal to the supreme court, submitted by the Colorado Supreme Court Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure, requests that the Colorado Supreme Court support legislation to increase the jurisdiction of the county courts from a $15,000 limit to a $35,000 limit. The committee suggests that increasing the jurisdictional limit of the county courts will promote access to justice by taking relatively low dollar value cases out of the district court and relieving the parties of the requirement to engage in the more complex and expensive procedures of the district court. The full proposal is available here.
Comments regarding increasing the county courts’ jurisdictional limits may be submitted to Christopher Ryan, clerk of the Colorado Supreme Court, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to 2 E. 14th Ave., Denver, CO 80203. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on June 10, 2016. Comments will be posted on the State Judicial website after the comment period has ended.
For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.
On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, the Colorado Judicial Institute announced that it is seeking nominations for its 2016 Judicial Excellence Awards. The awards acknowledge the efforts of Colorado’s outstanding jurists in three categories: district court judge, county court judge, and magistrate. Nominations may be submitted by justices, judges, magistrates, attorneys, clerks, court staff, and others closely involved with Colorado’s judicial system. The nomination form is available online at the Colorado Judicial Institute website.
The Colorado Judicial Institute set forth criteria for evaluating nominees in each category. The district court judge nominees should have five years’ experience on the district court bench; be creative and innovative in dealing with courtroom processes; exemplify high standards of judicial excellence through a distinguished career; display extraordinary courage, tenacity, and energy in dealing with high-profile, controversial, or difficult cases; objectively, expeditiously, and efficiently manage cases and dockets; and be recognized by members of the bar, courtroom staff, and others as respectful and even-handed but in firm control of the courtroom. County court judge nominees should have five years of experience as a judicial officer in the state court system and currently work full- or part-time; efficiently, expeditiously, and objectively manage cases and dockets; be recognized by members of the bar, courtroom staff, and others as respectful and even-handed but in firm control of the courtroom; and be respected by and have the confidence of other judges, attorneys, court staff, and others. Nominees for the magistrate award should have three years of full- or part-time experience on the bench; explain the law in terms understood by everyone who appears in the courtroom; possess a demeanor and attitude of court accessibility to all; display a high level of open communication; efficiently, objectively, and expeditiously manage cases and dockets; and be respected by and have the confidence of judges, lawyers, court staff, and others.
For more information about the Judicial Excellence Awards and to fill out the nomination form, click here.
On Monday, July 7, 2014, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the resignation on Hon. David R. Gloss of the Gilpin County Court in the First Judicial District, effective January 13, 2015.
Judge Gloss was appointed to the county court bench in 2011. Prior to his appointment, he was in private practice, focusing on dependency and neglect and truancy issues. He has also worked as an associate at Albert E. Anderson, P.C. and as a deputy district attorney in the Fourteenth Judicial District. He was admitted to practice law in Colorado in 1986.
Applications are now being accepted for the vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of Gilpin County and must have graduated high school or achieved the equivalent of a high school diploma. Applications are available from Justice Nathan Coats, the ex officio chair of the First Judicial District Nominating Commission, and are also available on the State Judicial website. Applications are due no later than 4 p.m. on August 13, 2014. Anyone wishing to nominate another person must do so no later than 4 p.m. on August 6, 2014.
For more information about the vacancy, click here.
Colorado Court of Appeals: Defendant Who Entered Guilty Plea Waived Right to Appeal Procedural Defect
The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Garcia on Thursday, February 28, 2013.
County Court—Re-Filing Complaint—Jurisdiction—Statement of Good Cause—Crim.P. 5(a)(4)(VII).
Defendant appealed the order of the district court concluding it had jurisdiction to accept his guilty plea. The order was affirmed.
On August 28, 2008, the People filed a complaint against defendant in Alamosa County Court, alleging assault in the second degree. The complaint was dismissed after the prosecution was unable to produce witnesses for a preliminary hearing. On December 12, 2008, the People re-filed the complaint in Alamosa County Court. Defendant waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and on April 6, 2009, he pleaded guilty to felony menacing in Alamosa District Court.
Defendant argued that the prosecution was not permitted to re-file the charges in county court and, alternatively, that failure to include a statement of good cause with the re-filing of felony criminal charges in county court pursuant to Crim.P. 5(a)(4)(VII) created a jurisdictional bar to his prosecution. First, Crim.P. 5(a)(4)(VII) now authorizes the re-filing of charges in county court. Next, the prosecutor’s failure to file a statement of good cause was not a jurisdictional defect but a procedural defect, which defendant waived when he pleaded guilty.
Summary and full case available here.
The Colorado State Judicial Branch has continued to revise forms through July and August. The most recently revised forms include forms from the adoption, appeals, county civil, district civil, and juvenile categories. Practitioners should begin using the revised forms immediately.
Most forms are available in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) and Microsoft Word formats; many are also available as Word and Excel templates. Download the new forms from State Judicial’s individual forms pages, or below.
- JDF 501 – “Petition for Adoption” (Revised 7/12)
- JDF 502 – “Petition for Stepparent Adoption” (Revised 7/12)
- JDF 503 – “Petition for Custodial Adoption” (Revised 7/12)
- JDF 505 – “Petition for Kinship Adoption” (Revised 7/12)
- JDF 638 – “Complaint for Review of Administrative Action of the Colorado Department of Corrections” (Revised 8/12)
- JDF 235 – “Notice of Record Certified to County Court – E-470 Case” (Revised 7/12)
- JDF 421 – “Petition for Change of Name of Minor Child” (Revised 7/12)
- JDF 620 – “Instructions for Filing a Response to a Rule 120 Notice” (Revised 7/12)
- JDF 542 – “D&N Motion for Special Action” (Revised 7/12)
- JDF 543 – “Order Regarding D&N Motion for Special Action” (Revised 7/12)
- JDF 544 – “D&N Report of Special Action” (Revised 7/12)
All of State Judicial’s forms may be found here.
On Friday, August 10, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper announced his appointment of Bennet Morris to serve as a Montrose County Court judge. Morris will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the Honorable Jerry Montgomery. His appointment is effective immediately.
Morris is currently the Senior Assistant City Attorney for the city of Montrose, a position he has held since 2003. In this role, he provides a range of legal advice to the City Council, senior staff, the Planning Commission, and other city boards. He previously worked as an indemnity and claims evaluator at the Land Title Guarantee Company.
Morris earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and his law degree from the University of Idaho.
The Seventh Judicial District Nominating Commission has nominated three candidates for a Montrose County court judgeship created by the resignation of the Honorable Jerry Montgomery on July 3, 2012.
The nominees for the bench are Bennet Morris, Seth Ryan, and Jason Wilson. All nominees are from Montrose and were selected by the commission on July 24.
Under the Colorado Constitution, Governor Hickenlooper has until August 9 to appoint one of the nominees as County Court Judge for Montrose County.
On Thursday, July 12, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper announced his appointments of Ryan James Stuart and Jean Woodford to serve as county court judges in the First Judicial District, which covers Jefferson County. Stuart will fill the judgeship created by the retirement of Honorable John A. DeVita II and Woodford will fill the judgeship created pursuant to HB 12-1073.
Stuart’s judicial appointment is effective August 31 and Woodford’s is effective immediately.
Stuart is currently a District Court Magistrate in the First Judicial District where the majority of his docket consists of domestic relations cases and some dependency and neglect cases. Prior to becoming a Magistrate Judge, Stuart was a Deputy District Attorney in the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office. He also practiced civil litigation as an associate at Davis Graham & Stubbs and Brownstein Hyatt & Farber.
Woodford currently works for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office as the First Assistant Attorney General, a position she has held since 2004. Woodford is responsible for the Financial Fraud Unit, which investigates and prosecutes securities fraud, insurance fraud, and auto theft. Previously, she worked as Acting District Attorney for the Seventh Judicial District and as Assistant District Attorney.
New E-Filing System: On January 1, 2013, the Colorado Judicial Branch’s new Integrated Colorado Courts E-Filing System (ICCES) will replace LexisNexis File & Serve. As of that date, all electronic filings for civil cases in the district, county, and appellate courts of Colorado will be made through the new ICCES program.
Pilot: On October 1, 2012, the Colorado Courts will begin the live transition from LexisNexis File & Serve to ICCES. Select judicial districts will pilot ICCES from October 1 through December 31. Pilot courts will require all e-filings be made through the ICCES system during this three-month period. Non-pilot courts will still require that all filings be made through LexisNexis. On January 1, 2013, the pilot will end and all judicial districts will fully transition to ICCES. To learn more about the pilot schedule, click here.
ICCES Account Pre-Registration: Law firms and agencies will need to register their organizations and request user accounts for ICCES. Pre-registration can be completed by clicking here.
Training: The Judicial Branch will begin ICCES training this August. Trainings will also be announced on the Judicial Branch website. To learn more about training opportunities, click here.
Stay informed about the ICCES transition by visiting the Colorado Judicial Branch’s E-Filing website, where regular updates will be posted.
E-mail ICCES-Feedback@judicial.state.co.us for any questions about the transition to ICCES.