July 15, 2018

Hon. Michelle Amico Appointed as Chief Judge of 18th Judicial District

On Tuesday, July 3, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced that District Court Judge Michelle Amico will be appointed as Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial District. She replaces Hon. Carlos A. Samour, Jr., as Chief Judge, following his appointment to the Colorado Court of Appeals, effective July 2, 2018.

Judge Amico was appointed to the 18th Judicial District Court in 2012. Prior to her appointment, she served as the Chief Deputy District Attorney in Denver, where she directed the Family Violence Unit, County Court Division; District Court, Juvenile Division; and Gang Unit and Intake Division; in addition to prosecuting cases. She substitute teaches criminal law and procedure at the University of Denver, and has spoken at several CBA-CLE seminars. She also has previously served on the board of directors for the Denver Center for Crime Victims, and is a past-president of the board. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and her law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Rule Changes Adopt Colorado Lawyer Self-Assessment Program, Amend Public Access and Water Court Rules

The Colorado Supreme Court has issued three new rule changes that have recently been released by the Colorado State Judicial Branch.

Rule Change 2018(08) amends Rules 11, 12, and 13 of the Uniform Local Rules for All State Water Court Divisions. Rule 11 was amended by the addition of a comment to specify that January 1, 2018, changes to the rule require expert witness disclosures to be made earlier than were previously required. Rule 12, “Procedure Regarding Decennial Abandonment Lists,” is new and sets forth specifications for publication and protest of decennial abandonment lists. Rule 13 was unchanged except to be renumbered; formerly, it was Rule 12.

Rule Change 2018(09) amends Rule 2 of Chapter 38 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, “Public Access to Information and Records.” Rule 2, “Public Access to Administrative Records of the Judicial Branch,” had minor amendments in sections 1 and 2. Section 3 of the rule dealing with exceptions and limitations on access to records had several amendments. The changes to Section 4 were relatively minor, and Section 5 was unchanged.

Rule Change 2018(10) adds Rule 256, “The Colorado Lawyer Self-Assessment Program,” to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 256 establishes the Colorado Lawyer Self-Assessment Program and sets forth guidelines and definitions for compliance with the program. The rule specifies that lawyers who utilize the program will be subject to confidentiality and immunity.

For a complete list of the Colorado Supreme Court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.

Several Judicial Vacancies Announced This Week

The Colorado State Judicial Branch announced several forthcoming vacancies on district and county courts throughout Colorado, due to the retirements of several judges. See below for details.

  • In the 13th Judicial District, Judge Michael J. Schingle will retire from the Morgan County Court, effective January 8, 2019. Judge Schingle was appointed to the Morgan County Court in 2000. Prior to his appointment, he was a private attorney in general practice with emphasis on criminal litigation. He has served as the president of the Morgan County local bar association and the Thirteenth Judicial District Bar Association. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico and his law degree from the University of Tennessee Law School. Applications for this position are due no later than 4 p.m. on July 23, and anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on July 16.
  • In the 8th Judicial District, Judge Devin R. Odell will retire from the district court bench, effective October 6, 2018. Judge Odell was appointed to the bench in 2009. Prior to his appointment, he had a private general practice, worked for the Colorado State Attorney General’s Office, and clerked for the Alaska Supreme Court. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his law degree from the University of California Davis School of Law. Applications for this vacancy are due no later than 4 p.m. on July 19, and anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than July 12.
  • In the 11th Judicial District, Judge Norman C. Cooling will retire from the Fremont County Court, effective January 8, 2019. Judge Cooling was appointed to the Fremont County Court in 2007. Prior to his appointment, he was a Deputy District Attorney in the 11th Judicial District for 21 years. He also worked in private practice and was a clerk for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals’ presiding judge. He received his undergraduate degree from Augustana College and his law degree from Tulsa College of Law. Applications for this position are due no later than 4 p.m. on July 19; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than July 12.
  • In the 20th Judicial District, Judge Noel C. Blum will retire from the Boulder County Court, effective January 8, 2019. Judge Blum was appointed to the Boulder County Court in 2003. Prior to his appointment, Judge Blum was a Deputy District Attorney in Jefferson and Gilpin counties for 19 years. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont and his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law. Applications for this position are due no later than 4 p.m. on July 20, and anyone wishing to nominate another must do so by July 13.
  • In the 20th Judicial District, Judge Karolyn Moore will retire from the Boulder County Court, effective January 8, 2019. Judge Moore was appointed to the Boulder County Court in 2011. Prior to her appointment, she was a Deputy District Attorney in Colorado’s First, Ninth, and Twentieth Judicial Districts. She received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Colorado. Applications for this position are due no later than 4 p.m. on July 20; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so by July 13.

For all of these positions, eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the counties or judicial districts in which the vacancies will occur. For the vacancies in the 8th, 11th, and 20th Judicial Districts, applicants must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. For the Morgan County Court vacancy, applicants must have graduated from high school or obtained the equivalent. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website or from the ex officio chair of the district nominating commissions.

For more information about the individual vacancies, click on the links above. For information about all of the vacancies, click here.

Judge Nancy Lichtenstein to Retire from Colorado Court of Appeals

On Monday, June 25, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the upcoming retirement of Hon. Nancy Lichtenstein from the Colorado Court of Appeals, effective January 8, 2019.

Judge Lichtenstein was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals in 2008. Prior to her appointment, she was a Deputy State Public Defender in both the appellate and trial divisions. Before her service as a public defender, she was in private practice. Judge Lichtenstein was also a guest lecturer at both the University of Colorado and University of Denver law schools, where she lectured on appellate advocacy. She volunteers for East High School’s “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition, and is an author for West’s Colorado Criminal Practice and Procedure series. She received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and her law degree from the University of Denver College of Law.

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. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website or from the ex officio chair of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, Chief Justice-delegate Nathan B. Coats. Application forms must be received no later than 4 p.m. on July 20, 2018; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than July 13, 2018.

For more information on the vacancy and application process, click here.

Hon. Elizabeth Strobel to Retire from 19th Judicial District Court

On Thursday, June 14, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. Elizabeth Strobel from the 19th Judicial District, effective January 8, 2019.

Judge Strobel was appointed to the bench in 2009, and she is the Presiding Family Court Judge and the Lead D&N Judge in the 19th Judicial District, handling a domestic relations and dependency and neglect docket in Greeley. Prior to her appointment, she was a district court magistrate in the 19th Judicial District. She was in private practice in Greeley prior to her appointments to the bench. She received her undergraduate degree from Montana State University and her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law. She has presented at several CBA-CLE family law seminars, and she was a prior author of the grandparent rights chapter in the Colorado Senior Law Handbook.

Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the 19th Judicial District and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website or from the ex officio chair of the 19th Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice William Hood, III. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on July 16, 2018; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than July 9, 2018.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Hon. Thomas R. Ensor to Retire from 17th Judicial District Court

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. Thomas R. Ensor from the 17th Judicial District Court, effective September 28, 2018. Judge Ensor was appointed to the Adams County Court in the 17th Judicial District in 1978, and was appointed to the district court in 1984. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Ensor was a Deputy District Attorney in the 17th Judicial District. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University and his law degree from Indiana University School of Law.

Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the 17th Judicial District and must have been licensed to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website, or from the ex officio chair of the 17th Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Monica Marquez. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on July 17, 2018, in order to be considered; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than July 10, 2018.

For more information on the vacancy, click here.

Hon. Stephen J. Sletta and Hon. Regina Walter to Retire from El Paso County Court

On Thursday, June 15, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. Stephen J. Sletta and Hon. Regina Walter. Both judges sit on the El Paso County Court, and their retirements will be effective on January 7, 2019.

Judge Sletta was appointed to the El Paso County Court in 1991. He mostly presides over a docket of civil cases, including traffic violations and misdemeanor charges. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was in private practice for 15 years. He received his undergraduate degree from Colorado College and his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law.

Judge Walter was appointed to the El Paso County Court in August 2008. Prior to her appointment, she was an El Paso County Court magistrate for 21 years, working in the juvenile court. She was also a deputy public defender prior to her appointment as a magistrate. She received her undergraduate degree from Colorado College and her law degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Applications are now being accepted for both upcoming vacancies. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of El Paso County and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website or from Justice Carlos A. Samour, Jr., the ex officio chair of the Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on July 23, 2018; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than July 16, 2018.

For more information about the vacancies, click here.

Rule Change 2018(07) Released, Amending Colorado Appellate Rules

On Friday, June 8, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch released Rule Change 2018(07), adopted by the Colorado Supreme Court on June 7 and effective July 1, 2018. The rule change Form 8, “Designation of Transcripts,” in the Appendix to Chapter 32, and also amends Rules 21, 21.1, 49, 50, 51, 51.1, 52, 53, 54, 56 and 57.

While some of the changes are relatively minor, many of the rules were dramatically amended. A redline and a clean copy of the rule change is available here. Appellate practitioners are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the rule changes before their July 1 effective date.

For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.

Mandatory Continuing Legal and Judicial Education Age Requirements Changing July 1, 2018

On March 15, 2018, the Colorado Supreme Court adopted changes to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure affecting mandatory continuing legal and judicial education. One of the changes that will have the broadest application is a change to the age requirements for mandatory continuing legal and  judicial education.

The current rules specify that attorneys who attain the age of 65 years are no longer required to obtain or track CLE credits. The rule change extends that age to 72 years, and attorneys who are currently exempt from tracking CLE credits due to their age will once again be required to comply with CLE reporting requirements until they attain 72 years of age.

The Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel released a helpful guide on how to proceed if you are between the ages of 65 and 72 years:

How will this work?

If you are currently exempt from mandatory CLE based on your age and are not yet 72 years old, you will again become subject to the requirements and your compliance period begins this year and ends December 31, 2021. For those of you who will be turning 65 this year or in 2019 and have not yet become exempt, your compliance period will automatically be extended to December 31, 2021. Once you turn age 72, you will again become exempt from the CLE requirements.

What happens if you turn age 72 before December 31, 2021?

You will become exempt during your first re-entry compliance period, and therefore it is up to you to what extent you wish to enter your CLE activities on your official transcript. Additionally, pursuant to the new rule, even once you become exempt, you will continue to be able to enter your CLE activities on your official transcript. This will allow you to continue to track your CLE, even though not required, for your own use. The Office of Continuing Legal and Judicial Education will be making changes to your CLE record over the next few months and will be ready for the July 1, 2018 effective date, so that you may begin entering your CLE credits online at that time.

CBA-CLE Classic Pass

CBA-CLE has developed a “Classic Pass” geared exclusively toward attorneys who were previously exempt from CLE reporting requirements. The Classic Pass is a subscription service that will allow attorneys to fulfill their CLE requirements for a reasonable price. For more information about the Classic Pass or to order your subscription, please contact Mary Dilworth at mdilworth@cobar.org.

Application Period Open for 18th Judicial District Court Vacancy

On Monday, June 4, 2018, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced that the application period is open for a vacancy on the 18th Judicial District Court. This vacancy was created by the appointment of Hon. Carlos A. Samour, Jr., to the Colorado Supreme Court, effective July 1, 2018.

Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the 18th Judicial District and must have been licensed to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website, or from the ex officio chair of the 18th Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Richard Gabriel. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, June 18, 2018 in order to be considered; anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on June 11, 2018.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Carlos A. Samour, Jr., Appointed to Colorado Supreme Court

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper announced the appointment of Hon. Carlos A. Samour, Jr., to the Colorado Supreme Court. He will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Justice Nancy Rice, effective July 2, 2018.

Samour is currently the Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial District. He has been recognized frequently for presiding over the Aurora movie theater shooting trial. He was appointed to the 18th Judicial District Court in 2006 and became Chief Judge in 2014. Prior to his work on the 18th Judicial District Court, Samour was a deputy district attorney in Denver for 10 years. He was also at Holland & Hart in private practice for five years. He has also clerked for Judge Robert McWilliams of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. He received his law degree from the University of Denver with honors, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. He is a Colorado native and avid Broncos fan.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

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.