June 25, 2019

Update: Judges Kelly and Simmons Exiting 4th Judicial District Court Bench; Search for Successors Is On

Members of judicial nominating commissions in Colorado are keeping busy this summer as they seek suitable successors for the near-dozen judges who this summer have declared their intention to retire or not to seek retention in November’s elections. Judge J. Patrick Kelly and Judge Timothy J. Simmons, both of southeastern Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District, announced Friday their plans to step down from the district court bench later this fall.

Judges Kelly and Simmons are the tenth and eleventh Colorado judges, respectively, to announce their retirement since June 1.

Members of the Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet Friday, August 16, at the El Paso County Judicial Building in Colorado Springs, to review and interview applicants for both vacancies. Following the interviews, the Commission will recommend finalists for Gov. Bill Ritter to consider for appointment, and the governor will announce his appointee within 15 days.

All attorneys licensed to practice in Colorado for at least five years and who are registered electors in the Fourth Judicial District are eligible to apply for the judgeships. Detailed information about the 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 Nancy E. Rice, 101 W. Colfax Ave., Eighth Floor, no later than Friday, August 6, at 12:00 p.m. (noon).

The Fourth Judicial District serves the nearly 800,000 residents of El Paso and Teller counties, and its judges hear a mixed docket that includes civil, criminal, domestic relations, juvenile, and probate matters. District court judges receive an annual salary of $128,598, and serve a provisional, two-year term, after which their retention is put to the vote every six years.

Judge Kelly will step down on October 31, after nearly eight years at the Fourth Judicial District. He spent his early, non-legal career in public service, starting with a tour in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy and time spent on the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma, police force. Following his law school graduation in 1984, Judge Kelly worked as a litigation attorney for the City of Colorado Springs, a deputy district attorney for the Fourth Judicial District, county attorney for El Paso County, and clerk and recorder for El Paso County. Gov. Bill Owens appointed him to the Fourth Judicial District bench in 2002.

Judge Simmons will retire effective December 31. Upon his graduation from West Point in 1965, he served in active duty in the U.S. Army in Korea, Germany, and Vietnam. He began his legal career in 1974, spending 24 years in private practice before being tapped for the Fourth Judicial District bench by Gov. Roy Romer in 1998. While in private practice, Judge Simmons served as a part-time municipal court judge for the City of Colorado Springs.

Other Colorado judges announcing their retirement in recent weeks include Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey, Fifth Judicial District Judge Terry Ruckriegle, Nineteenth Judicial District Judge Gilbert Gutierrez, Denver District Court Judge Stephen Phillips, Jefferson County Judge Charles Hoppin, Douglas County Judge Michele Marker, Montrose County Judge John Mitchel, and Larimer County Court Judge Cynthia Hartman.

Judges up for retention in this November’s election have until Monday, August 2, to file with the Secretary of State their Declaration of Intent to Run for Retention.

(images source: State Judicial)

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  1. […] In related District news, Judge J. Patrick Kelly and Judge Timothy J. Simmons earlier this month announced their autumn retirements from the Fourth Judicial District bench. Details about applying to succeed them on the bench are available here. […]

  2. […] Earlier this month, Judge J. Patrick Kelly and Judge Timothy J. Simmons announced their autumn retirements from the Fourth Judicial District bench. Details about applying to succeed them on the bench are available here. […]

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