November 14, 2018

Juan G. Villaseñor Appointed to 8th Judicial District Court; Alexandra O. Robak Appointed to Fremont County Court

On Thursday, September 13, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper announced his appointments of Juan G. Villaseñor to the 8th Judicial District Court and Alexandra O. Robak to the Fremont County Court. Villaseñor will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. Devin Odell, effective October 6, 2018. Robak will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. Norman Cooling, effective January 8, 2019.

Villaseñor is currently Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where he has been since 2008. He represents federal agencies and employees in criminal and civil cases in his role as AUSA. Villaseñor has also worked with the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Pardon Attorney, an Assistant Attorney General with the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, a First Amendment Fellowship Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, and a Law Clerk to the Honorable William J. Haynes in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Villaseñor received his undergraduate degree from St. John’s College and his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School.

Robak is currently a Deputy State Public Defender in the Salida Regional Office of the Colorado State Public Defender. She has been with the Public Defender’s Office since 2013. She represents indigent clients accused of misdemeanor and felony crimes. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from Brooklyn Law School.

For more information about these appointments, 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.

Amanda Hunter Appointed to Custer County Court

On Thursday, January 14, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper’s office announced the governor’s appointment of Amanda Hunter to the Custer County Court, effective immediately. Hunter will fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Hon. Peter Michaelson to the Eighteenth Judicial District Court.

Hunter currently works at the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office in Salida, where she has been since 2011. Prior to that, she was a law clerk at the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender for four months and a law clerk at the Iowa State Public Defender’s office for four months. She also worked at the Credit Advisors Foundation for seven years. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in 2002 and her law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2011.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Ramsey Lama Appointed to District Court Bench in 11th Judicial District

On Tuesday, December 29, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper’s office announced the appointment of Ramsey Lama to the Eleventh Judicial District Court Bench, effective January 12, 2016. Lama will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. David Thorson.

Lama currently is a solo practitioner in Salida at the Law Offices of Ramsey Lama, where he practices criminal defense. Prior to opening his solo practice, Lama worked at the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office in Grand Junction and Salida. He also worked for the Cleveland Public Defender’s Office in Ohio. He received his law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law, cum laude, and his undergraduate degree from Aquinas College in Michigan.

 

Application Period Open for Vacancy on Custer County Court Bench

On Wednesday, December 2, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced a forthcoming vacancy on the Custer County Court, created by the appointment of Hon. Peter F. Michaelson to the Eighteenth Judicial District Court, effective January 1, 2016.

Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of Custer County and must have graduated high school or attained the equivalent degree. Application forms are available on the Colorado State Judicial Branch website and are also available from the ex officio chair of the Eleventh Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice William Hood, III. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on December 16, 2015. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on December 9, 2015.

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

Adoption Day Events Scheduled in Colorado Courts Throughout November

November is National Adoption Month, and to celebrate, Colorado’s courts are holding Adoption Day events throughout the month. This month, Colorado judges will finalize adoptions for 159 foster children. National Adoption Day is a national effort to raise awareness of more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting for permanent and loving families. It occurs on the Since its inception, nearly 54,500 children have been adopted as part of National Adoption Day. This year’s National Adoption Day will be November 21, 2015. The following events are occurring in Colorado’s courts throughout the month of November to celebrate National Adoption Day:

  • First Judicial District: 22 children will be adopted on Saturday, November 21, from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
  • Second Judicial District: 50 children will be adopted on Friday, November 13, from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
  • Eighth Judicial District: 20 children will be adopted on Friday, November 20, throughout the day.
  • Tenth Judicial District: 10 children will be adopted on Friday, November 20, throughout the morning.
  • Eleventh Judicial District: 8 children will be adopted as part of the National Adoption Day celebration.
  • Twelfth Judicial District: All families who finalized an adoption in November are invited to a reception on Wednesday, November 18.
  • Sixteenth Judicial District: A celebration for the families of all 12 children adopted in 2015 will be held on Tuesday, November 17.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District: 13 children will be adopted on Saturday, November 21, from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District: 7 children will be adopted in Arapahoe County on Thursday, November 19, and in Douglas County, 4 adoptions were held on November 6 and 3 more will be held on November 20.
  • Nineteenth Judicial District: 13 children will be adopted throughout the day on Friday, November 20.
  • Twentieth Judicial District: 3 children will be adopted on Friday, November 20, throughout the morning. A public celebration of Adoption Day will be held following the hearings.
  • Twenty-First Judicial District: 6 children will be adopted on Friday, November 20, from 1 to 2 p.m.

To find out more about National Adoption Day and Colorado’s court participation, and for information about whether media coverage is permitted at the various events, click here.

Hon. David M. Thorson to Retire from Eleventh Judicial District Court

On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. David M. Thorson from the Eleventh Judicial District Court, effective January 12, 2016. Judge Thorson was appointed as a district court judge in 2005. Prior to his appointment, he was a Deputy District Attorney in the Eleventh Judicial District for 16 years. He also has been in private practice, and he served as town attorney for the towns of Alma and Fairplay. He received his undergraduate degree from Pacific Lutheran University and his law degree from the University of Puget Sound Law School. He is a member of the Colorado Bar Association, Fremont-Custer Bar Association, and Heart of the Rockies Bar Association. He has volunteered as a mountain search and rescue person for decades and was a recipient of the J. Hunter Holloway Spirit Award for commitment to the professional advancement of Colorado’s search and rescue community.

Applications are now being accepted for the forthcoming district court vacancy. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website or from the ex officio chair of the Eleventh Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Nathan B. Coats. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the Eleventh Judicial District and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on November 18, 2015, and anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on November 11, 2015.

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

Judicial Performance Commission Appointments Announced

On Friday, October 9, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper announced appointments to several Commissions on Judicial Performance. These appointments are effective December 1, 2015, for terms expiring November 30, 2019. The Commissions on Judicial Performance were created by the General Assembly in 1988 in order to provide voters with fair, responsible, and constructive evaluations of judges seeking retention. Each of Colorado’s judicial districts has a Commission and there is one for the state appellate judges. Commissions consist of ten volunteer commissioners — four attorneys and six non-attorneys. Governor Hickenlooper’s appointments are as follows:

  • State Commission on Judicial Performance – Suzanne Jalbert of Fraser was appointed to serve as a non-attorney.
  • Third Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Nancy Lake of Weston was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Eleventh Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Jenna Mazzucca of Salida was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Thirteenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Amy Schmidt of Laird was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Fifteenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Joshua Vogel of Lamar was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Heidi Miller of Commerce City was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Valerie Garcia of Centennial was appointed to serve as an attorney.
  • Nineteenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission – Martin Beier of Frederick was appointed to serve as an attorney.

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

Lynnette Wenner Appointed to 11th Judicial District Court Bench

On Thursday, May 28, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper appointed Lynnette Wenner to the district court bench in the Eleventh Judicial District. Ms. Wenner will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. Charles Barton, effective July 1, 2015.

Ms. Wenner is currently a partner at Gillick & Wenner, P.C., where she practices family law, including custody disputes, child support, maintenance determinations, and grandparent visitation rights. She received her undergraduate degree from Dowling College and her law degree from Stetson University College of Law. She is admitted to practice in Florida and Colorado.

Nominees Selected for Vacancy on 11th Judicial District Court

On Tuesday, May 12, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of three nominees to fill a vacancy on the Eleventh Judicial District Court. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Hon. Charles Barton, effective July 1, 2015.

The three nominees selected are Brian L. Green of Fairplay, Roger B. Larsen of Canon City and Lynette M. Wenner of Cotopaxi. Under the Colorado Constitution, Governor Hickenlooper has 15 days from May 12, 2015, in which to select one of the nominees for appointment. Comments regarding the nominees may be emailed to the governor at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us.

For more information, click here.

11th Judicial District Nominating Commission Appointment Announced

On Thursday, April 9, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper’s office announced his appointment of Jolene Lynn DeVries of Cotopaxi to the Eleventh Judicial District Nominating Commission, to serve as an attorney and a Republican from Fremont County.

Each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts has a judicial nominating commission that is responsible for interviewing and selecting candidates for judicial vacancies. Judicial nominating commissions are comprised of seven members, three attorneys and four non-attorneys, no more than four of whom can be from the same political party and with at least one representative from each county in the district. There is also a Supreme Court Nominating Commision that selects candidates for vacancies on the Colorado Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is comprised of two members from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, one attorney and one non-attorney from each, plus one at-large member who is not an attorney.

For more information on Governor Hickenlooper’s appointment, click here. For more information on nominating commissions, click here.

Hon. Charles M. Barton to Retire from 11th Judicial District Court

On Thursday, March 26, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. Charles M. Barton, effective July 1, 2015. Judge Barton was appointed to the Eleventh Judicial District Court bench in January 2003, where he presides over a criminal, civil, domestic relations, and juvenile docket. Prior to his appointment, Barton served as a deputy district attorney in both the Tenth and Eleventh Judicial Districts. He received his law degree from Northern Kentucky University and his undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Applications are now being accepted for the forthcoming vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the Eleventh Judicial District (Chaffee, Custer, Park, and Fremont counties) and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available from the State Judicial website and also from the ex officio chair of the Eleventh Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Gregory Hobbs. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on April 27, 2015, and anyone wishing to nominate another must do so lo later than 4 p.m. on April 20, 2015.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.