May 27, 2018

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.

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.

Cynthia J. Jones Appointed to Clear Creek County Court

On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the governor’s appointment of Cynthia J. Jones to the Clear Creek County Court in the Fifth Judicial District. Jones will fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Hon. Rachel Olguin-Fresquez to the Eagle County Court, effective February 1, 2018.

Jones is currently a sole practitioner at the Law Office of Cynthia J. Jones, LLC, where she practices criminal law. She is also the primary Alternate Defense Counsel for Eagle County, but has taken cases in Summit, Lake, and Garfield Counties as well. Prior to opening her own firm, Jones was a Colorado State Public Defender for 12 years. She has also worked as an associate at Bailey & Peterson, P.C., where she practiced civil litigation. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, her law degree from the University of Montana, and a Masters of Art History degree from Southern New Hampshire University.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Sean Finn Appointed to 17th District Court Bench

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, the governor’s office announced the appointment of Sean Finn to the District Court bench in the 17th Judicial District. Finn will fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Hon. Ted Tow, III, to the Colorado Court of Appeals, effective February 13, 2018.

Finn is currently a Chief Trial Deputy in the 20th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, where he prosecutes felony offenses and supervises felony prosecutions of economic crimes, cases before Boulder County grand juries, and appeals on behalf of the District Attorney’s Office. He also handles civil matters on behalf of the District Attorney’s Office and is an adjunct professor of criminal procedure at the University of Colorado School of Law. Prior to his work in the 20th Judicial District, Finn was Deputy District Attorney and Senior Deputy District Attorney in the 17th Judicial District. He was an associate at Davis, Graham & Stubbs early in his career. He clerked for Hon. Robert Russel of the Colorado Court of Appeals. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and his law degree from Loyola University School of Law.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Application Period Open for Clear Creek County Vacancy

The Colorado State Judicial Branch announced a vacancy on the Clear Creek County Court, occasioned by the appointment of Hon. Rachel Olguin-Fresquez to the Eagle County Court, effective February 1, 2018. Applications are now being accepted for the Clear Creek County Court vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of Clear Creek County and must have graduated high school or attained the equivalent. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website or from the ex officioclick here chair of the Fifth Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Monica Marquez. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on February 8, 2018. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than February 1, 2018. For more information about the vacancy, .

Rachel Olguin-Fresquez Appointed to Eagle County Court

On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the governor’s appointment of Rachel Olguin-Fresquez to the Eagle County Court in the Fifth Judicial District. Olguin-Fresquez will fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Hon. Kathleen Sullivan, effective immediately.

Olguin-Fresquez is currently a county court judge in Clear Creek County, where she handles civil and criminal matters. She was appointed to the Clear Creek County Court in 2006. Prior to her appointment, she was the Chief Deputy District Attorney in the Fifth Judicial District. She also was a K-2 elementary school teacher for three years prior to attending law school. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her law degree from the Tulane University School of Law.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

District Court Vacancy Announced on Seventeenth Judicial District Court

On December 27, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced an upcoming vacancy on the Seventeenth Judicial District Court, occasioned by the appointment of Hon. Ted C. Tow, III, to the Colorado Court of Appeals. The vacancy will occur on February 13, 2018.

Applications are now being accepted for the vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the Seventeenth Judicial District and must have been licensed to practice law in Colorado for five years. Applications are available on the State Judicial website or from Justice Brian Boatright, the ex officio chair of the Seventeenth Judicial District Nominating Commission. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on January 12, 2018; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on January 5, 2018.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Judge Ted Tow III Appointed to Colorado Court of Appeals

On Friday, December 15, 2017, the governor appointed Judge Ted C. Tow, III, to the Colorado Court of Appeals. Judge Tow will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. Dennis Graham, effective February 12, 2018.

Judge Tow is currently a District Court Judge in the 17th Judicial District, where he has served since November 2010. He oversees a civil and domestic relations docket. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he practiced for several years in Chicago and Denver in labor and employment, then served as a Deputy District Attorney in the Seventeenth Judicial District for seven years. He was also the District Director for the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council prior to his appointment to the bench. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and his law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Professor Melissa Hart Appointed to Colorado Supreme Court

On Thursday, December 14, 2017, the governor announced his appointment of Melissa Hart to the Colorado Supreme Court. Hart will fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Hon. Allison Eid to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Hart’s appointment is effective immediately.

Hart is currently a full tenured law professor at the University of Colorado Law School. She teaches courses in employment discrimination, legal ethics, constitutional law, judicial procedure and judicial decision making. She is also the Director of the Byron White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law. A 1995 graduate of Harvard Law School, she clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the Second Circuit and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the United States Supreme Court. Professor Hart practiced law for several years in Washington, D.C., including as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.  Melissa’s scholarship focuses primarily on employment discrimination and civil procedure. She remains active in the legal community, regularly handling pro bono cases and serving on the Colorado Access to Justice Commission and the Colorado Supreme Court’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee and Board of Continuing Judicial and Legal Education. She has authored several amicus briefs in employment discrimination and constitutional cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and in other matters before the Colorado Supreme Court and several federal courts of appeals.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

CORRECTED: Nominees Selected for Colorado Supreme Court Vacancy

On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission announced its selection of three nominees for appointment to the Colorado Supreme Court. The three nominees are Marcy Glenn, Melissa Hart, and Hon. Pattie Swift.

Marcy Glenn is a partner at Holland & Hart LLP, where she specializes in appellate litigation and legal ethics. She formerly chaired the Committee on Conduct of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, and is a current member and former chair of the Colorado Bar Association Ethics Committee. Ms. Glenn frequently lectures and writes on appellate and ethics issues.

Melissa Hart has been a professor at the University of Colorado Law School since 2001, teaching courses in employment discrimination, legal ethics, constitutional law, judicial procedure and judicial decision making. She is now the Director of the Byron White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law. She serves on the Colorado Access to Justice Commission and the Colorado Supreme Court’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee and Board of Continuing Judicial and Legal Education.

Hon. Pattie Swift is the Chief Judge of the 12th Judicial District, and she is also the Water Judge of Water Division 3. In August 2006, Judge Swift helped create a Dependency and Neglect Family Drug Treatment Court in Alamosa County, over which she presided from 2006 through 2012. Judge Swift served as County Court Judge for Costilla County from January 1989 until she assumed her current position as a District Court Judge in February 2003. She received her law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of New Mexico.

Comments about any of the nominees may be emailed to the governor at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us. The governor has 15 days from November 30, 2017, in which to select one of the nominees for appointment to the Colorado Supreme Court. For more information about the nominees, click here.