May 24, 2018

Second Judicial District Court on the Move, Literally, This Week

Monday, July 28 is the last day for Second Judicial District Court felony criminal, drug, and juvenile matters to be heard at Denver’s City and County Building.

The Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse, located at 520 W. Colfax Ave., will open for business on Tuesday, July 6, following the Independence Day holiday weekend. Named for two distinguished Colorado judges, the new $36 million justice center will house 29 spacious new courtrooms and offices for the district attorney, city attorney, clerks of court, public defender, probation, jury assembly, and jury commissioner, as well as temporary inmate holding for both adults and juveniles. An underground tunnel will connect the courthouse to the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, specifically designed for the safe transport of inmates between the detention center and courthouse.

During the week of the move, district and county court criminal and juvenile cases will be heard on an as-needed or emergency basis. The full docket resumes for all courts on July 6.

Of the new courthouse, Second Judicial District Chief Judge Robert S. Hyatt said:

“We are very pleased to be making the move to the new courthouse. The Lindsey-Flanigan complex stands as a modern symbol of the rule of law with its safety features and technological capabilities helping to ensure effective and efficient administration of justice.”

Matters to be heard at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse include:

  • Misdemeanors, such as DUI and third-degree assaults;
  • Municipal ordinance violations, such as disturbing the peace, loitering, and domestic violence;
  • Building and zoning code violations;
  • Municipal ordinance violations committed by juveniles, such as petty theft, trespass, and curfew violations;
  • Felonies through preliminary hearing;
  • Felony criminal matters;
  • Drug charges; and
  • Juvenile matters.

Courtroom assignments are detailed here.

Matters heard at the Denver City and County Building after the July 6 move include:

  • Traffic violations; and
  • District court civil matters.

District court family matters are currently being heard at 303 W. Colfax, but will return to the City and County Building on August 16. County court civil (including protection orders) and small claims cases will still be heard at 1515 Cleveland Place, Fourth Floor. Parking violations will still be heard in the Parking Magistrate’s Office at 201 W. Colfax, First Floor.

The Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse was once the former Rocky Mountain News building and was “deconstructed,” rather than demolished, a process utilizing recycled building materials in keeping with earth-friendly construction practices. It features many of the sustainability merits needed to qualify for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designation (still pending), including two “green” roofs, systems for efficient lighting and water usage, a naturally ventilated atrium, recyclable item collection, and bicycle storage.

The legal legacies of Judge Benjamin Barr Lindsey and Judge James C. Flanigan are commemorated in the naming of the new courthouse. Judge Lindsey is remembered for establishing the stand-alone juvenile court system in Denver and for fighting the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Judge Flanigan was the first African American in Colorado to serve as deputy district attorney, Denver municipal court judge, and Denver District Court judge. The courthouse also features the Cisneros Jury Assembly Room, named after Judge Roger Cisneros, a Colorado State senator, WWII veteran, founder of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), and the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA). Though retired, Judge Cisneros remains active in legal and judicial activities.

(image source: City of Denver)

Update: Judge Stephen Phillips to Retire from 2nd Judicial District; Applicants Sought for Bench Vacancy

The Second Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet in late August to interview Colorado attorneys applying for the vacancy that the Honorable J. Stephen Phillips will leave upon his retirement from the bench later this year.

The meeting will be held at the Colorado Supreme Court conference room, 101 W. Colfax Ave., in downtown Denver, on Monday, August 23. Following the interviews, the Commission will recommend finalists for Gov. Bill Ritter to consider for appointment.

The Second Judicial District Court hears civil, criminal, and domestic relations cases for the 500,000-plus residents of City and County of Denver. District court judges receive a provisional, two-year appointment by the governor, after which they are retained by voter approval every six years.

All attorneys licensed to practice in Colorado for at least five years and who are registered electors in the Second Judicial District are eligible to apply for the judgeship. Detailed information about the Second Judicial District and the application are available online. Application packages (consisting of one original application plus seven copies) must be received by the office of Commission ex officio chair, Justice Allison H. Eid, 101 W. Colfax Ave., Eighth Floor, no later than Friday, August 6 at 5:00 p.m.

Judge Phillips was appointed to the Second Judicial District Court bench in April 1983. According to his court bio, he served in the U.S. Army as a Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, and is a former assistant attorney general and served as assistant United States attorney as a trial prosecutor.

The most recent appointee to the Second Judicial District bench is the Honorable Anne B. Frick, who succeeded former Chief Judge Larry E. Naves upon his retirement in April of this year.

Legal Update: Second District Seeks Nominees to Replace Chief Judge Naves

The Second Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet in early April to interview Colorado attorneys applying for the vacancy that Chief Judge Larry J. Naves will leave upon his upcoming retirement from the bench. The meeting will be held at the Colorado Judicial Building, 2 E. 14th Avenue in downtown Denver, on Tuesday, April 6. Following the interviews, the Comission will recommend finalists for Governor Bill Ritter to consider for appointment.

The Second Judicial District Court hears civil, criminal, and domestic relations cases for the 500,000-plus residents of City and County of Denver. District court judges receive a provisional, two-year appointment by the governor, after which they are retained by voter approval every six years.  All attorneys licensed to practice in Colorado for at least five years and who are registered electors in the Second Judicial District are eligible to apply for the judgeship. Detailed information about the Second Judicial District and the application are available online. Application packages (consisting of one orginial application plus seven copies) must be received by the office of Commission ex officio chair, Justice Alex J. Martinez, 2 E. 14th Avenue, no later than Thursday, March 25 at 5:00 p.m.

Judge Naves was appointed to the Second Judicial District Court bench in January 1987 by then Governor Dick Lamm, and became chief judge in July 2006. During his 23-year tenure, he presided over a number of high-profile and sometimes controversial cases, including ethnic studies lecturer Ward Churchill‘s wrongful termination suit against the University of Colorado.

Upon his retirement next month, Judge Naves will join Judicial Arbiter Group, Inc. (JAG), a Denver-based arbitration firm comprised of over 20 former trial and appellate judges. JAG’s roster includes former Colorado Supreme Court justices Howard M. Kirshbaum, Luis D. Rovira, and Anthony F. Vollack; former Colorado Court of Appeals judges Steve C. Briggs, Karen S. Metzger, and Leonard P. Plank; and former Colorado District Court judges Joseph Bellipanni, Steven T. Pelican, and Cheryl L. Post.

Judge Naves and his wife, local news anchor Bertha Lynn, live in Denver and have three children.