September 25, 2018

Colorado Courts Celebrate National Adoption Day Throughout November

Each November, National Adoption Day is celebrated to recognize and raise awareness of the over 100,000 children in foster care awaiting permanent families. Since its inception, National Adoption Day has made the dreams of thousands of children come true through the cooperative work of courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies and advocates to finalize adoptions and find permanent, loving homes for children in foster care. In Colorado, the adoptions of 132 children will be finalized this month. Currently, 283 Colorado children await permanent families.

In 2006, for the first time, National Adoption Day was celebrated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This year, events will be held throughout the country to finalize the adoptions of more than 4,500 children in foster care, and to celebrate all families who adopt. Since 2000, more than 50,000 children have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day.

Throughout the state, courts will be celebrating Adoption Day this month. Some of the events are listed here:

  • First Judicial District (Jefferson and Gilpin counties): On Thursday, November 17, 2016, from 1 to 5 pm at the Jefferson County Courthouse, Magistrates Andrew Fitzgerald and Margaret Tims will preside over adoptions for 15 families. On Saturday, November 19, 2016, from 8:30 am to noon, Judges Margie Enquist, Gail Meinster and Tamara Russell, and Magistrate Jamin Alabiso will preside over 24 adoptions for 18 families. Cameras are welcome; contact Mallory Hyatt at (303) 271-4389 for more information.
  • Second Judicial District (Denver County): On Thursday, November 10, 2016, the Denver County Court held its National Adoption Day celebration. Forty-six children were united with 31 families. Contact Barbara Bosley, Family Court Facilitator, Denver Juvenile Court, (720) 337-0584 or (303) 638-5098 for more information.
  • Third Judicial District (Huerfano and Las Animas counties): On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, at 2 pm, Judge Leslie J. Gerbracht will preside over the adoptions of three children into two families. All families who have adopted children in the Third Judicial District are invited to attend, and cameras are welcome with the families’ permission. Contact Joanne A. Montero at (719) 497-8208 for more information.
  • Tenth Judicial District (Pueblo County): On Friday, November 18, 2016, District Court Judge David W. Crockenberg will preside over six adoptions. Expanded media coverage has been granted; contact Amanda Ledbetter at (719) 583-4716 for more information.
  • Twelfth Judicial District (Alamosa, Conejos, Castillo, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties): On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Twelfth Judicial District held a reception to honor the 27 children who were adopted into 18 families last year. Members of the public, the courts, Departments of Human Services, county attorneys, and county commissioners were in attendance. Chief Judge Pattie Swift addressed the group and discussed the important role of adoptive families in the justice system and thanked DHS staff and attorneys for the work that they do.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District (Adams and Broomfield counties): On Saturday, November 19, 2016, from 9 am to noon, nine children will be united with eight families. District Court Judges John Popovich and Jill-Ellyn Straus, as well as Magistrate Fran Simonet, will preside over the adoptions. Cameras will be allowed in the courtroom with the permission of the families. For more information, contact Simone Jones, Court Programs Coordinator, at (303) 654-3230.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln counties): On Friday, November 18, 2016, Adoption Day hearings will be held at both the Arapahoe County Courthouse and the Douglas County Courthouse. Judge Theresa Slade will preside over the adoptions of 13 children in Arapahoe County from 8:30 am to 4 pm. Magistrate Rebecca Moss will preside over eight adoptions in Douglas County from 2 to 4 pm. Cameras will be permitted in both courts with written permission of the families. For more information, contact Shaun Clark, Deputy District Administrator, at (303) 649-6382.
  • Twentieth Judicial District (Boulder County): On Friday, November 18, 2016, from 10:30 am to noon, Boulder County will host a celebration for all children adopted in Boulder County this past year. County Court Judge Elizabeth Brodsky and District Court Magistrate Monica Haenselman will be in attendance to celebrate with the families. There will be a reception, a short presentation, and crafts and games for the children. The celebration is open to the public; contact Erika Skufca at erika.skufca@judicial.state.co.us or (303) 441-4921 or Raina Lesser at raina.lesser@judicial.state.co.us or (303) 441-3744 for more information.
  • Twenty-first Judicial District (Mesa County): On Friday, November 18, 2016, from 9 am to 1 pm, District Court Judge Valerie Robison will preside over eight adoptions. An additional celebration will be held in the jury assembly room at 3 p.m. for all adopted on November 18 and in the past. Cameras will be allowed in the courtroom with permission of the families. For more information, contact Angeline Roles, Mesa County Department of Human Services, at (970) 248-2453 or angeline.roles@mesacounty.us.

For more information about Adoption Day events, click here.

Kimberly D. Cortez-Rodriguez and Anna N.H. Ulrich Appointed to County Courts in 12th Judicial District

On Wednesday, September 7, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the governor’s appointment of Kimberly D. Cortez-Rodriguez to the Conejos County Court and Ann N. Ulrich to the Saguache County Court, both in the Twelfth Judicial District. Cortez-Rodriguez will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. Susan I. Broyles, effective January 10, 2017. Ulrich will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. Amanda K. Pearson, effective November 1, 2016.

Cortez-Rodriguez is currently the Self-Represented Litigant Coordinator for the Twelfth Judicial District. Prior to her work for the court, Cortez-Rodriguez was an associate at the Alamosa firm of Lester Sigmond Rooney & Schwiesow. She has also worked as a staff attorney and paralegal for Colorado Legal Services. She received her undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and her law degree from the University of Colorado Law School.

Ulrich is a solo practitioner at Anna N.H. Ulrich, Attorney at Law, where she has worked since 2006. In addition to her solo practice, Ulrich is an assistant county attorney for Chaffee County. She has also been a research attorney for the Twelfth Judicial District, and an associate at law firms in Boulder and Durango. She received her undergraduate degree from Trinity University and her law degree from University of Colorado Law School.

For more information about the appointments, click here.

Hon. Amanda K. Pearson and Hon. Susan I. Broyles to Retire

On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of two county court judges in the Twelfth Judicial District. Hon. Amanda K. Pearson of the Saguache County Court will retire, effective November 1, 2016, and Hon. Susan I. Broyles of the Conejos County Court will retire, effective January 10, 2017.

Judge Pearson was appointed to the Saguache County Court in March 1998. She is the Senior County Court Judge, and is also an Alamosa Municipal Court judge. Prior to her appointment, Pearson was in private practice, and also spent three years at the Twelfth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. She received her undergraduate degree from Adams State College and her law degree from the University of Colorado.

Judge Broyles was appointed to the Conejos County Court in October 2013. Prior to her appointment, she helped pro bono clients with with various matters, including collections, torts, business matters, traffic infractions, and more. Prior to that, she taught reading and writing to disadvantaged children at an inner city school for ten years. She also worked as a Special Assistant Attorney General representing the Department of Corrections, and was a non-attorney county court judge in Conejos County before receiving her J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Applications are now being accepted for both vacancies. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the counties in which the vacancies occur, and must have graduated from high school or attained the equivalent. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website or from Justice Brian Boatright, the ex officio chair of the Twelfth Judicial District Nominating Commission. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on July 20, 2016, and anyone wishing to nominate another must do so in writing no later than 4 p.m. on July 13, 2016.

For more information about the vacancies, 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.

Judicial Performance and Nominating Commission Appointments Announced

This week, Governor Hickenlooper’s office announced the governor’s appointment of several members of judicial performance commissions throughout the state and one member of a judicial nominating commission. Armando Valdez of La Jara was appointed to the Twelfth Judicial District Nominating Commission, to serve as a non-attorney and a Democrat from Conejos County. His term will expire December 31, 2020. Attorney Norman Ray Mueller of Denver was reappointed to the Second Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission. His term is effective December 1, 2015, and will expire November 30, 2019. Lindsey Parlin of Leadville was reappointed to the Fifth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission, to serve as an attorney for a term effective from December 1, 2015, through November 30, 2019. Michael Andrew Goldman of Durango was reappointed to the Sixth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission. He is an attorney who will serve a term from December 1, 2015 through November 30, 2019. Attorney Christopher Michael Turner of Pueblo was also reappointed to the Tenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission for a term effective December 1, 2015, through November 30, 2019. Amanda C. Hopkins of Alamosa, an attorney, was reappointed to the Twelfth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission to serve from December 1, 2015, through November 30, 2019. Russell Allen Zane of La Junta was reappointed to the Sixteenth Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission. He will serve from December 1, 2015, through November 30, 2019. Attorney Lance Phillip Timbreza of Grand Junction was reappointed to the Twenty-first Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission, also to serve from December 1, 2015, through November 30, 2019. And finally, Peter Ortego of Lewis, who is an attorney, was reappointed to the Twenty-second Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission for a term effective December 1, 2015, through November 30, 2019.

Judicial nominating commissions are responsible for reviewing applications and selecting nominees for appointment to judicial vacancies in their district. Judicial performance commissions were created to provide voters with fair, responsible, and constructive evaluations of judges in their judicial district who face retention elections. For more information about the commissions and the appointments, click here.

Barbara Zollars Appointed to Rio Grande County Court

On Thursday, August 13, 2015, the governor’s office announced the appointment of Barbara Zollars to the Rio Grande County Court in the Twelfth Judicial District, effective immediately. Zollars will fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Hon. Patrick H. Hayes, Jr. to the Twelfth Judicial District Court.

Zollars is currently a partner at the San Luis Valley Law Firm, where she practices criminal defense, handling everything from traffic offenses to first-degree murder cases. Prior to opening her firm, Zollars was a Deputy State Public Defender in various offices from 1988 to 2002. She also founded and managed a legal aid program in Seattle, Washington. Zollars earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from Seattle University.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Finalists Selected for Rio Grande County Court Vacancy

On Wednesday, July 29, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of two finalists to fill a vacancy on the Rio Grande County Court. The vacancy was created by the appointment of Hon. Patrick H. Hayes, Jr., to the Twelfth Judicial District Court, effective July 1, 2015.

The two nominees are Mérida I. Zerbi and Barbara A. Zollars, both of Monte Vista. Mérida I. Zerbi is a solo practitioner in Monte Vista, where she practices in the areas of criminal law, domestic relations, immigration, probate, and water law. Barbara A. Zollars of the San Luis Valley Law Firm is a former public defender who currently practices criminal defense.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has fifteen days in which to appoint one of the nominees to the bench. 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 Rio Grande County Court Vacancy

On Thursday, June 18, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced a vacancy on the Rio Grande County Court, occasioned by the appointment of Hon. Patrick H. Hayes, Jr. to the Twelfth Judicial District Court. The vacancy will occur on July 1, 2015.

Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of Rio Grande County and must have graduated from high school or achieved the equivalent of a high school diploma. Application forms are available from the ex officio chair of the Twelfth Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Nathan Coats, and also from the State Judicial website. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on July 20, 2015. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than 4 p.m. on July 13, 2015.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Patrick H. Hayes Appointed to 12th Judicial District Court

On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, the governor’s office announced Governor Hickenlooper’s appointment of Patrick H. Hayes to the district court bench in the Twelfth Judicial District. Hayes will fill a vacancy created by HB 15-1034, effective July 1, 2015.

Currently, Hayes is a county court judge in Rio Grande County, where he was appointed in 2011. He is also a Division 3 Water Referee. Prior to his appointment to the Rio Grande County Court, Hayes was in private practice at Hayes Law, P.C., where he practiced criminal defense. Hayes also served as Chief Deputy District Attorney in the San Luis Valley and was the juvenile court magistrate in Rio Grande County. He received his law degree, summa cum laude, from Oklahoma City University School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Cameron University.

Nominees Announced for 12th Judicial District Court Judgeship

On Monday, June 1, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of three nominees for appointment to the bench of the Twelfth Judicial District. The selected nominee will fill a vacancy created by House Bill 15-1034, effective July 1, 2015. The three nominees are Patrick H. Hayes Jr of South Fork, Jason T. Kelly of Alamosa and Amanda K. Pearson of Crestone.

Patrick H. Hayes, Jr. is currently a county court judge in Rio Grande County, presiding over a mixed docket. Jason T. Kelly is a county attorney in Alamosa. Amanda K. Pearson is a county court judge in Saguache County.

Under the Colorado Constitution, Governor Hickenlooper has 15 days from June 1 in which to select one of the nominees for appointment. Comments regarding any of the nominees may be submitted to the governor at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us. For more information about the nominees, click here.

Application Period Open for New Judgeship on Twelfth Judicial District Court Bench

The governor signed HB 15-1034 on Friday, March 20, 2015, which increased the number of district court judges in the Twelfth Judicial District from three to four, effective July 1, 2015. The Colorado State Judicial Branch announced on Friday, March 27, 2015, that applications are now being accepted for the forthcoming vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the Twelfth Judicial District (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties) and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available from the State Judicial website, and from the ex officio chair of the Twelfth Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Hood. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on May 4, 2015, and anyone wishing to nominate another person must do so no later than 4 p.m. on April 27, 2015.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Bill to Add Judge in 12th Judicial District and More Signed

On Friday, March 20, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper signed ten bills into law. To date, he has signed 68 bills into law. The bills signed Friday are summarized here.

  • HB 15-1059 – Concerning the Board of Directors of the Denver Health and Hospital Authority, by Rep. Alec Garnett and Sen. Lucia Guzman. The bill adds two board members to the Denver Health and Hospital Authority board, removes outdated language, and dictates a new process for removing board members.
  • HB 15-1122 – Concerning Limiting Eligibility for Parole, and, in Connection Therewith, Amending Certain Provisions Concerning the Revocation of Parole for Certain Inmates, by Rep. Rhonda Fields and Sen. John Cooke. The bill aligns procedures for parole of offenders under the statute to current DOC practice.
  • HB 15-1029 – Concerning Coverage Under a Health Benefit Plan for Health Care Services Delivered Through Telehealth in Any Area of the State, by Reps. Perry Buck & Joann Ginal and Sens. John Kefalas & Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill requires all health benefit plans in Colorado to provide telemedicine options when telemedicine is considered an equal standard of care.
  • HB 15-1034 – Concerning an Increase in the Number of District Court Judges in the Twelfth Judicial District, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Ed Vigil and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill adds a district court judge in the Twelfth Judicial District.
  • HB 15-1032 – Concerning the Addition of Licensed Mental Health Professionals as Authorized Providers of Mental Health Services to Minors who are At Least Fifteen Years of Age, by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sen. Irene Aguilar. The bill expands the definition of qualified mental health providers for involuntarily committed minors to include licensed social workers, licensed professional counselors, and licensed addiction counselors.
  • HB 15-1078 – Concerning Immediate Reporting of Missing Children who are in the Custody of a State Agency to Law Enforcement for Inclusion in National Crime Databases, by Reps. Dan Nordberg & Beth McCann and Sens. Cheri Jahn & Laura Woods. The bill requires reporting of missing children to law enforcement within 24 hours of noticing the child is missing when the child is in the custody of county or state departments of human services.
  • HB 15-1174 – Concerning the Confidentiality of Personal Information for Participants in the Address Confidentiality Program and, in Connection Therewith, Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking, by Rep. Terri Carver and Sen. Laura Woods. The bill prevents the state from knowingly disclosing the address of a person in the address confidentiality program, including unique identifying information about his or her residential, work, or school address.
  • HB 15-1070 – Concerning Changes to the Crime Profits Distribution Statute, by Rep. John Buckner and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill makes several changes regarding the distribution of crime profits.
  • HB 15-1094 – Concerning Restorative Justice, by Rep. Pete Lee and Sens. John Cooke & Linda Newell. The bill makes several changes to the judicial department’s restorative justice programs, including adding members, allowing gifts to support restorative justice, and expanding eligibility to juveniles.
  • HB 15-1060 – Concerning Protection Orders in Sex Offense Cases, by Rep.  Millie Hamner and Sen. John Cooke. The bill requires a defendant in a sexual offense case to acknowledge any protection orders in court and in writing prior to release on bond.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2015 legislative decisions, click here.