December 12, 2017

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.

Hon. Dennis Graham to Retire from Colorado Court of Appeals

On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Dennis Graham, effective February 12, 2018.

An esteemed figure in the legal community, Judge Graham attended Colorado State University, then went on to law school at the University of Nebraska. He was drafted in his first year, however, and spent three years in the Army before returning to finish law school. He worked as a civil litigation attorney focused on securities law and commercial transactions from 1976 to 2002. Judge Graham was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals in 2002. Judge Graham has served on the Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board and the Judicial Personnel Board. He is an avid cyclist.

Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the State of Colorado and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Applications are available from the State Judicial website, or from the ex officio chair of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, Chief Justice Nancy Rice. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on October 23, 2017; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on October 16, 2017.

For more information about Judge Graham, click here. For more information about the vacancy or application process, click here.

Finalists Selected for Colorado Court of Appeals Vacancy

On Wednesday, December 14, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of three finalists for an upcoming vacancy on the Colorado Court of Appeals. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Hon. Gale T. Miller, effective January 16, 2017. The three finalists are Michael Beaver, Esq., of Greenwood Village, Hon. Ted Tow, III, of Brighton, and Hon. Craig Welling, of Brighton.

Michael Beaver is a partner at Holland & Hart, where he represents employers, insurers, and employee benefit plans in litigation, and also works with ski, resort, and recreation business operators, defending litigation and providing preventive counseling. Mr. Beaver has authored employee benefit chapters in the ERISA Survey Of Federal Circuits (ABA 2007) and Insurance Coverage Litigation (West 2000). He has written a number of articles in publications such as For The Defense, the Tort & Insurance Law Journal, and the Labor Law Journal. He has also has spoken at national and state programs sponsored by the ABA, DRI, Western Pension & Benefits Conference, National Ski Areas Association, the Colorado Bar Association, and numerous others. Prior to practicing with Holland & Hart, Mr. Beaver served as Human Resources Manager and Vice President for Finance and Administration for a Denver-based manufacturing company, assisting with the sale of the business to a Fortune 100 corporation. He received his law degree from the University of Denver and his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado.

Hon. Ted Tow, III, is a district court judge in the Seventeenth Judicial District (Adams and Broomfield counties), where he has overseen a domestic relations docket and is now assigned to a civil docket. He was appointed to the bench in September 2010. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Tow served as Executive Director of the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council. He also practiced law 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. Judge Tow received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and his law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

Hon. Craig Welling is also a district court judge in the Seventeenth Judicial District. He was appointed to the bench in 2010. He has presided over domestic relations, juvenile, civil and appellate (municipal court and county court appeal) cases. Judge Welling was chief legal counsel to Governor Bill Ritter immediately prior to his appointment to the bench. He also was an attorney in private practice. Judge Welling received his undergraduate degree from Colorado State University, his master’s degree from Penn State University, and his law degree from the University of Colorado.

Comments about any of the nominees may be emailed to the governor at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us. For more information about the nominees, click here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Ballot Initiative Encompasses Multiple Subjects Because it Injects Politics into Supreme Court Nominating Commission

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re Title, Ballot Title, and Submission Clause for 2015-2016 #132 and #133 on Monday, July 5, 2016.

Initiatives #132 and #133 propose to change the way congressional and senatorial districts are drawn in Colorado by restructuring and replacing the state’s Colorado Reapportionment Commission with a newly created Independent Colorado Legislative Redistricting Commission. The initiatives would make several changes to the way legislative districts are drawn, and would require the Supreme Court Nominating Commission to “establish and announce a process for appointment” for the four Commission members who would be required to be from a minor or independent political party.

The Colorado Supreme Court determined that the initiatives violated the single subject requirement by fundamentally altering the role of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission and ultimately injecting politics into the neutral body of the judicial branch. The court also agreed with petitioners that the initiatives violated the single subject requirement by removing the power to redistrict Colorado’s congressional districts from the General Assembly and transferring it to the newly created Redistricting Commission. The court held that the initiative created the possibility of “log rolling” because it would potentially draw “yes” votes from people who are unhappy with the current legislative districting structure but might oppose removing the power to draw those districts from the General Assembly.

Justice Boatright dissented; he would have concluded that because every subject relates to legislative redistricting, the initiative satisfied the single subject rule.

Supreme Court and Judicial Nominating Commission Appointments Announced

On Friday, December 4, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper’s office announced the appointments of several people to judicial nominating commissions and the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, effective January 1, 2016, for six-year terms expiring December 31, 2021.

Each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts has a judicial nominating commission comprised of seven members—four non-attorneys and three attorneys, of whom no more than four may be from the same political party. In districts with populations of less than 35,000, at least four of the nominating commission members must be non-attorneys. Judicial nominating commission members must live in the judicial district for which they will serve. Judicial nominating commissions are responsible for reviewing applicants for judicial vacancies in their district and selecting applicants for nomination to the bench. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission selects applicants for nomination to the Colorado Supreme Court and Colorado Court of Appeals. It is comprised of fifteen members—one non-attorney and one attorney from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, plus one at-large member.

Governor Hickenlooper’s nominating commission appointments are as follows:

  • Supreme Court Nominating Commission: Jay Patel of Colorado Springs was appointed to serve as a non-attorney and a Republican from the Fifth Congressional District.
  • Second Judicial District Nominating Commission: Melody Mirbaba of Denver was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated attorney from Denver County.
  • Third Judicial District Nominating Commission: Pamela Nelson of Trinidad was appointed to serve as a Republican and an attorney from Las Animas County and Mary Ray White of La Veta was appointed to serve as a Republican and an attorney from Huerfano County.
  • Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Mary Linden of Colorado Springs was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from El Paso County; Philip Mella of Woodland Park was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Teller County; Juan Moreno of Colorado Springs was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from El Paso County; Daniel Nicholson of Woodland Park was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated non-attorney from Teller County.
  • Fifth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Heather Manolakas of Basalt was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated attorney from Eagle County; Todd Rankin of Breckenridge was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Summit County.
  • Seventh Judicial District Nominating Commission: Richard Haggerty of Telluride was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from San Miguel County; William Masters of Telluride was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from San Miguel County; Eric McPhail of Gunnison was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Gunnison County.
  • Eighth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Tracy Ann Oldemeyer of Fort Collins was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated attorney from Larimer County; Katherine Corey of Johnstown was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Larimer County; Thomas Milligan of Fort Collins was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Larimer County.
  • Ninth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Scott Grosscup of Glenwood Springs was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from Garfield County.
  • Tenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Gloria Gutierrez of Pueblo was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Pueblo County.
  • Fifteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Garth Nieschburg of Lamar was appointed to serve as a Republican and an attorney from Prowers County.
  • Sixteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: H. Barton Mendenhall, II, of Rocky Ford was appointed to serve as a Republican and an attorney from Otero County; Anita “Betsy” Dillon of Ordway was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Crowley County.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Christina Gomez of Commerce City was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from Adams County; Jennifer Chavez of Westminster was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Adams County; Joann Dawe of Westminster was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated non-attorney from Adams County.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Adelita DeHerrera of Aurora was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from Arapahoe County.
  • Nineteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Thomas Fasano of Windsor was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Weld County; Virginia Rosales of Greeley was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Weld County.
  • Twentieth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Benita Duran of Boulder was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Boulder County; Mary Friedrichs of Boulder was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Boulder County.
  • Twenty-First Judicial District Nominating Commission: Martha Kent of Grand Junction was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from Mesa County; Lesley McWhirter of Grand Junction was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Mesa County.
  • Twenty-Second Judicial District Nominating Commission: Kinsey Ertel of Cortez was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated non-attorney from Montezuma County.

For more information about the appointments, click here. For more information about judicial nominating commissions, click here.

Application Period Open for Several Judicial Nominating Commission Vacancies

On Thursday, September 24, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced several upcoming vacancies on Judicial Nominating Commissions. The application period for these vacancies is now open. Applications must be submitted online at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/governor/boards-and-commissions-application, and will be accepted through October 31, 2015. The vacancies will open December 31, 2015.

Judicial nominating commissions are comprised of seven members from their respective judicial districts, of whom no more than four can be of the same political party. In voting districts with populations greater than 35,000, no more than three judicial nominating commission members can be attorneys. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission consists of one attorney and one non-attorney from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, plus one at large member who is not an attorney. The nominating commissions vacancies are listed here.

  • Supreme Court Nominating Commission – One vacancy for a non-attorney in the Fifth Congressional District.
  • First Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for an attorney in Gilpin County.
  • Second Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for an attorney.
  • Third Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies for attorneys.
  • Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Four vacancies, one attorney and three non-attorneys. No more than two appointees may be registered as Democrat, no more than three may be registered as Republican, and one must reside in Teller County.
  • Fifth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies, one for an attorney and one for a non-attorney. No more than one of the appointees may be registered as Democrat.
  • Seventh Judicial District Nominating Commission – Three vacancies, one for an attorney and two for non-attorneys. One appointee must be from San Miguel County and one must be from Gunnison County, and no more than two appointees may be registered as Republican.
  • Eighth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Three vacancies, one for an attorney and two for non-attorneys. No more than two appointees may be registered as either Democrat or Republican.
  • Ninth Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for an attorney.
  • Tenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for a non-attorney.
  • Fifteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for an attorney.
  • Sixteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies, one for an attorney and one for a non-attorney.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Three vacancies, one for an attorney and two for non-attorneys. No more than one appointee may be registered as Democrat.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies, one for an attorney and one for a non-attorney. No more than one appointee may be registered as Republican.
  • Nineteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies for non-attorneys.
  • Twentieth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies for non-attorneys.
  • Twenty-First Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies, one for an attorney and one for a non-attorney. No more than one appointee may be registered as Republican.
  • Twenty-Second Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for a non-attorney. The appointee may not be registered as Republican.

For more information about nominating commissions, click here. For more information about the vacancies, click here.

Finalists Selected for Vacancy on Colorado Court of Appeals

On Thursday, September 3, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of three finalists to fill a vacancy on the Colorado Court of Appeals, effective September 1, 2015. The vacancy was created by the appointment of Hon. Richard Gabriel to the Colorado Supreme Court. The three finalists are Rebecca Freyre of Denver, Craig Welling of Brighton, and David Yun of Denver.

Rebecca Freyre is a Deputy State Public Defender, where she focuses on criminal appeals. Craig Welling is a district court judge in the Seventeenth Judicial District. David Yun is a partner at Jaudon & Avery LLP in Denver, where he concentrates on appeals, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, health care, and medical board matters.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has 15 days from September 3, 2015, in which to appoint one of the nominees to the Colorado Supreme Court. Comments regarding the nominees may be emailed to the governor at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us. For more information about the nominees, click here.

Application Period Open for Colorado Court of Appeals Vacancy

On Wednesday, July 1, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced a forthcoming vacancy on the Colorado Court of Appeals, effective September 1, 2015. The vacancy will be created by the appointment of Hon. Richard Gabriel to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Applications are now being accepted for the vacancy. Qualified applicants must be electors of the State of Colorado and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available from the State Judicial website or the ex officio chair of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, Chief Justice Nancy Rice. Applications are due no later than 4 p.m. on July 31, 2015, and anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on July 24, 2015.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Finalists Selected for Colorado Supreme Court Vacancy

On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of three nominees to fill a vacancy on the Colorado Supreme Court. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Justice Gregory Hobbs, effective August 31, 2015. The three finalists are Richard L. Gabriel, Melissa Hart, and David S. Prince.

Richard Gabriel is currently a judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals, where he was appointed in 2008. Prior to his appointment, Judge Gabriel was a long-time partner with Holme Roberts & Owen LLP (now Bryan Cave HRO), where he focused his practice on commercial, intellectual property, probate, and products liability litigation, including appeals, and where he headed the firm’s intellectual property practice group. Judge Gabriel is very active in the Colorado legal community and graciously lends his time to numerous committees, CLE programs, and other professional groups. Judge Gabriel received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. He plays the trumpet professionally in his spare time.

Melissa Hart has been an Associate Professor at University of Colorado Law School since 2001, where she teaches Employment Discrimination, Legal Ethics and Professionalism, and Civil Procedure. She became the Director of the Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law in 2010. Professor Hart is also active in the Colorado legal community, and she frequently presents at CLE programs, is active in several committees, and runs CU’s chapter of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, a national program that sends law school students into high schools to teach constitutional law. Professor Hart received her law degree from Harvard Law School.

David S. Prince currently serves as the Deputy Chief Judge of the Fourth Judicial District Court. He was appointed to the district court bench in April 2006. Prior to his appointment, Judge Prince was a litigation partner at Holland & Hart handling complex litigation, including probate and trust matters. Along with Judge Shakes and Judge Cisneros, Judge Prince founded “Judicially Speaking” to teach Colorado high school students the role of the courts. Judge Prince received his law degree from the University of Utah School of Law.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has 15 days in which to select one of the nominees for appointment to the Colorado Supreme Court. Comments regarding the candidates may be sent to the governor at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us. For more information about the nominees, click here.

Hon. James Casebolt to Retire from Colorado Court of Appeals

On Thursday, April 3, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. James Casebolt of the Colorado Court of Appeals, effective July 1, 2015.

Judge Casebolt was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals in 1994, and has served as Deputy Chief Judge since 2005. He also serves on the Judicial Advisory Panel and the Colorado Supreme Court Committee on Civil Pattern Jury Instructions. Prior to his appointment, Judge Casebolt was a shareholder and partner at Younge & Hockensmith P.C. in Grand Junction, where he practiced civil litigation. Judge Casebolt received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Colorado College, and his law degree from the University of Colorado, where he received American Jurisprudence awards for excellence in corporations, creditor’s remedies, and estate planning.

Applications are now being accepted for the forthcoming vacancy on the Colorado Court of Appeals. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the State of Colorado and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Applications are available from the State Judicial website, and also from the ex officio chair of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, Chief Justice Nancy Rice. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, April 27, 2015, and anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, April 20, 2015.

For more information on the forthcoming vacancy and for contact information for members of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, click here.

Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs to Retire

Justice HobbsThe Colorado State Judicial Branch announced last week that Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs will retire, effective August 31, 2015.

Justice Hobbs was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court on May 1, 1996, by Governor Roy Romer. Prior to his appointment, Justice Hobbs was the senior partner at Hobbs, Trout & Raley, P.C., where he practiced in the areas of water law, environmental law, and land use; a partner at Davis Graham & Stubbs; an assistant attorney general in the natural resources section for the State of Colorado; and an enforcement attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Justice Hobbs received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Justice Hobbs is a frequent speaker and author, and has written three water-themed books for CBA-CLE: The Public’s Water ResourceLiving the Four Corners, and Into the Grand.

Applications are now being accepted for the forthcoming vacancy on the Colorado Supreme Court. Qualified applicants must be electors in the State of Colorado and must have been licensed to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available from the Colorado State Judicial Branch website and also from the ex officio chair of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, Chief Justice Nancy Rice. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on May 6, 2015. Anyone wishing to nominate another person must do so no later than 4 p.m. on April 29, 2015.

More information about the judicial vacancy is available here.

Appointment to Supreme Court Nominating Commission Announced

On Tuesday, March 17, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper announced the appointment of Tracee Marie Bentley of Severance to the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from the Fourth Congressional District. Bentley’s term will expire December 31, 2020.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission reviews applicants and selects nominees for vacancies on the Colorado Supreme Court and Colorado Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission comprises one attorney and one non-attorney from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, plus one additional non-attorney and the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court as committee chair and ex officio member.