March 26, 2019

HB 15-1034: Adding a District Court Judge in the Twelfth Judicial District

On January 7, 2015, Rep. Edward Vigil and Sen. Larry Crowder introduced HB 15-1034 — Concerning an Increase in the Number of District Court Judges in the Twelfth Judicial District. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Effective July 1, 2015, the bill increases the number of district court judges in the twelfth judicial district from 3 to 4.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary and Appropriations Committees. The bill has passed out of the Judiciary Committee unamended and was referred to Appropriations.

Non-Attorney Appointments to Judicial Nominating Commissions Announced

On Tuesday, December 31, 2013, Governor Hickenlooper’s office announced the governor’s appointments to several of the state’s judicial nominating commissions.

The judicial nominating commissions are responsible for interviewing applicants for judicial vacancies and selecting three of the applicants as nominees for appointment to the judiciary. The governor then has 15 days in which to appoint one of the three nominees to the bench. If the governor fails to appoint a nominee within this time, the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court may select a nominee.

Each judicial district has a nominating commission comprised of seven citizen members who must reside in the judicial district. No more than four members may have the same political party affiliation, and at least four members must not be admitted to practice law in Colorado. Additionally, there is a Supreme Court Nominating Commission, responsible for nominating appointees for the Colorado Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission comprises one attorney and one non-attorney member from each of Colorado’s seven judicial congressional districts, with one additional non-attorney member.

Tuesday’s appointments are as follows:

  • First Judicial District Nominating Commission – Marie Belew Wheatley of Lakewood to serve as a non-attorney and a Democrat from Jefferson County.
  • Sixth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Kim Martin of Hesperus to serve as a non-attorney and a Democrat from La Plata County.
  • Ninth Judicial District Nominating Commission – David Fiore of Basalt to serve as a non-attorney and a Republican from Pitkin County.
  • Tenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Sharon Swerdfeger of Pueblo West to serve as a non-attorney and a Republican from Pueblo County.
  • Twelfth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Carla Gomez of Center to serve as a non-attorney and a Republican from Saguache County.
  • Thirteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Brigitte Shafer of Akron to serve as a non-attorney and a Democrat from Washington County.
  • Fifteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Marlin Miller of Eads to serve as a non-attorney and a Republican from Kiowa County.
  • Sixteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Robert Stwalley of Las Animas to serve as an unaffiliated non-attorney from Bent County; Dwight Gardner of Ordway to serve as a non-attorney and a Democrat from Crowley County.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Linda Rodriguez of Broomfield to serve as a n0n-attorney and a Democrat from Broomfield County.
  • Twentieth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Karla Rikansrud of Boulder to serve as a non-attorney and a Democrat from Boulder County.
  • Twenty-First Judicial District Nominating Commission – Eric Sandstrom of Grand Junction to serve as a non-attorney and a Democrat from Mesa County.
  • Supreme Court Nominating Commission – Robert Scott of Pagosa Springs to serve as a non-attorney and a Republican from the Third Congressional District; James Carpenter of Englewood to serve as a non-attorney and a Democrat from the Sixth Congressional District; and Connie McArthur of Denver to serve as a non-attorney and a Democrat at-large member.

Judicial Nominating Commission Appointments Announced

On Friday, December 27, 2013, Governor Hickenlooper announced appointments to 14 of Colorado’s judicial nominating commissions, including the Supreme Court Nominating Commission.

The judicial nominating commissions are responsible for interviewing applicants for judicial vacancies and selecting three of the applicants for appointment to the judiciary. The governor then has 15 days in which to appoint one of the three nominees to the bench. If the governor fails to appoint a nominee within this time, the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court may select a nominee.

Each judicial district has a nominating commission comprised of seven citizen members who must reside in the judicial district. No more than four members may have the same political party affiliation, and at least four members must not be admitted to practice law in Colorado. Additionally, there is a Supreme Court Nominating Commission, responsible for nominating appointees for the Colorado Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission comprises one attorney and one non-attorney member from each of Colorado’s seven judicial congressional districts, with one additional non-attorney member.

The appointments are as follows:

  • First Judicial District Nominating Commission – Thomas Overton of Golden to serve as a attorney and a Democrat from Jefferson County.
  • Second Judicial District Nominating Commission – Christina Habas of Denver to serve as an attorney and a Democrat from Denver County.
  • Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Larry Gaddis of Colorado Springs to serve as an attorney and a Democrat from El Paso County.
  • Ninth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Andrea Bryan of Carbondale to serve as an unaffiliated attorney from Garfield County.
  • Tenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – James Whitmire of Pueblo to serve as an attorney and a Republican from Pueblo County.
  • Twelfth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Paul Motz of Alamosa to serve as an attorney and a Democrat from Alamosa County.
  • Thirteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Edward Zorn of Ft. Morgan to serve as an attorney and a Republican from Morgan County.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Daniel Carr of Westminster to serve as an unaffiliated attorney from Adams County; Patricia Jarzobski of Westminster to serve as an attorney and a Democrat from Adams County.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Candace Figa of Aurora to serve as an attorney and a Republican from Arapahoe County.
  • Nineteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – William Crossier of Greeley to serve as an attorney and a Republican from Weld County.
  • Twenty-First Judicial District Nominating Commission – Scott Burrill of Grand Junction to serve as an unaffiliated attorney from Mesa County; Amy Hand of Grand Junction to serve as an attorney and a Republican from Mesa County.
  • Twenty-Second Judicial District Nominating Commission – Sean Murray of Mancos to serve as an attorney and a Democrat from Montezuma County.
  • Supreme Court Nominating Commission – Kathleen Lord of Denver to serve as an attorney from the First Congressional District; Michael Burg of Greenwood Village to serve as an attorney and a Democrat from the Sixth Congressional District.

Application Period Open for Vacancies on Supreme Court Nominating Commission and Various Judicial District Nominating Commissions

On Wednesday, September 11, 2013, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced vacancies on the Supreme Court Nominating Commission and the nominating commissions for 16 of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts. Twenty-nine vacancies were announced, and applications for these vacancies are due by 5 p.m. on October 11, 2013. Application forms for attorneys are available on the State Judicial website; applications for non-attorneys are available on the Governor’s Office website. All members of nominating commissions serve as volunteers.

Each judicial district nominating commission is comprised of three attorneys and four non-attorneys, no more than half of which plus one can share political party affiliation. Additionally, at least one member of each commission must reside in each county in the judicial district. Applicants must reside in the judicial district for whose nominating commission they seek appointment.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is comprised of seven attorneys and seven non-attorneys, plus one non-attorney at-large member. Each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts is represented by one attorney and one non-attorney.

The nominating commissions with vacancies are listed here. Specifications as to residency, party affiliation, or whether the vacancy is for an attorney or non-attorney are listed as applicable.

  • First Judicial District – one attorney and one non-attorney
  • Second Judicial District – one attorney
  • Fourth Judicial District – one attorney; must not be a registered Republican
  • Sixth Judicial District – one non-attorney
  • Ninth Judicial District – one attorney and one non-attorney
  • Tenth Judicial District – one attorney and one non-attorney
  • Twelfth Judicial District – one attorney; must reside in Alamosa County
  • Thirteenth Judicial District – one attorney and one non-attorney; one must reside in Washington County and one must reside in Morgan County
  • Fifteenth Judicial District – one non-attorney
  • Sixteenth Judicial District – two non-attorneys; one must reside in Crowley County
  • Seventeenth Judicial District – two attorneys
  • Eighteenth Judicial District – one attorney
  • Nineteenth Judicial District – one attorney
  • Twentieth Judicial District  – one non-attorney
  • Twenty-First Judicial District – two attorneys and one non-attorney
  • Twenty-Second Judicial District – one attorney; must not be a registered Republican
  • Supreme Court Nominating Commission – two attorneys and three non-attorneys; one attorney must be from the First Congressional District and the other must be from the Sixth Congressional District; one non-attorney must be from the Third Congressional District, one must be from the Sixth Congressional District, and the third is the at-large position.

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

Governor Hickenlooper Announces Appointments to Several Judicial Nominating Commissions

On Thursday, December 13, 2012, Governor Hickenlooper announced appointments to the judicial nominating commissions for the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Eighteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-Second judicial districts.

Each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts has a nominating commission that selects nominees for appointment to judicial vacancies. The nominating commissions are comprised of  seven citizens residing in that judicial district. No more than four members can be from the same political party, and there must be at least one voting member from each county in the district. The members serve six-year terms.

For a complete list of the appointed members and information regarding their residence, affiliation, and the duration of their terms, click here or visit the governor’s website. Information about the judicial nominating commissions and an application for consideration for appointment may be found here.

Ruth Acheson Appointed as New Mineral County Court Judge

On Thursday, August 30, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper appointed Ruth Acheson to serve as a county court judge in the Twelfth Judicial District, which serves Mineral County. Acheson will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable F. Stennard Lentz, effective January 8, 2013.

Acheson currently is in private practice for the Law Office of Ruth M. Acheson, a position she has held since 2004. Her practice consists exclusively of child protective issues. Prior to starting her own firm, Acheson worked as a public defender in the Twelfth Judicial District for nearly twenty years.

Acheson earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and her law degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

Finalists Selected to Fill Judgeship on Mineral County Court

The Twelfth Judicial District Nominating Commission has nominated three candidates for a Mineral County Court judgeship created by the retirement of the Honorable F. Stannard Lentz on January 8, 2013.

The nominees for the bench are Ruth Acheson of unincorporated Mineral County, and Phillip Nicholson and Larry Woods, who are both from Creede. All were selected by the commission on August 13, 2012.

Under the Colorado Constitution, Governor Hickenlooper has until August 29 to appoint one of the nominees as County Court Judge for Mineral County.

Comments regarding any of the nominees may be sent via e-mail to the governor at judicial.appointments@state.co.us.

Judge F. Stannard Lentz to Retire from Mineral County Court Bench

The Twelfth Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet Monday, August 13, 2012 at the Mineral County Courthouse to interview and select nominees for appointment by Governor Hickenlooper to the office of County Judge for Mineral County. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of the Honorable F. Stannard Lentz on January 8, 2013.

Eligible applicants for appointment to fill the vacancy must be qualified electors of Mineral County and must have graduated high school or attained the equivalent of a high school education as indicated by the Department of Education. Applications must be received by Friday, July 20. The appointed county court judge will serve an initial provisional term of two years before facing a retention election. If retained in the general election, judges serve four-year terms.

Further information about applying for the vacancy is available here from the Colorado Judicial Branch.

Governor Hickenlooper Appoints More to Judicial Nominating Commissions

On Tuesday, May 29, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper announced several Board and Commission appointments. The appointments were to the Second, Fifth, Sixth, Twelfth, and Twenty-First Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commissions.

Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts have judicial district nominating commissions that select nominees for district and county judicial vacancies. Each district nominating commission is chaired by a justice of the Supreme Court, who is a non-voting member of the commission.

Commission members serve six-year terms. Non-lawyers, who are the majority of every nominating commission, are appointed by the governor. Lawyer members are appointed by joint action of the governor, attorney general, and chief justice.

The members appointed to the Second Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for terms expiring December 31, 2017, are:

  • Larry Allen Nelsen of Denver, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Denver County.
  • Andrew Dean Schneider of Denver, to serve as a non-attorney and as an Unaffiliated from Denver County.

The members appointed to the Fifth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for terms expiring December 31, 2017, are:

  • Gregory V. Johnson of Edwards, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Eagle County.
  • Heather N. Scanlon of Leadville, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Lake County.

The member appointed to the Sixth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring December 31, 2017, is:

  • Stephen C. Fearn of Silverton, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from San Juan County.

The member appointed to the Twelfth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring December 31, 2017, is:

  • Marvin K. “Zeke” Ward of Creede, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Mineral County.

The members appointed to the Twenty-First Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for terms expiring December 31, 2017, are:

  • Ivan Daniel Geer of Grand Junction, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Mesa County.
  • Beverly Jean Sewell of Grand Junction, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Mesa County.

Governor Hickenlooper Announces Several Judicial Nominating Commission Appointments

On Thursday, April 12, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper announced several appointments to various Judicial Nominating Commissions. The appointments are to the Fourth, Ninth, Twelfth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commissions and the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission.

Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts each have judicial district nominating commissions that select nominees for district and county judicial vacancies. Each district nominating commission is chaired by a justice of the Supreme Court, who is a non-voting member of the commission.

Commission members serve six-year terms. Non-lawyers, who are the majority of every nominating commission, are appointed by the governor. Lawyer members are appointed by joint action of the governor, attorney general, and chief justice.

The member appointed to the Fourth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring December 31, 2017 is:

  • Kenneth Michael Valdez of Colorado Springs, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from El Paso County.

The members appointed to the Ninth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for terms expiring December 31, 2017 are:

  • Sharon Merlene Day of Meeker, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Rio Blanco County.
  • Anna Smith of Meeker, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Rio Blanco County.
  • Julie Goldstein of Basalt, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Pitkin County.

The member appointed to the Twelfth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring December 31, 2017 is:

  • Kimberly A. Lookis of San Luis, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Costilla County.

The member appointed to the Fourteenth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring December 31, 2017 is:

  • Kelly Lee Weimer of Granby, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Grand County.

The members appointed to the Fifteenth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for terms expiring December 31, 2017 are:

  • Staci Faye Bishop of Springfield, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Baca County.
  • Linda Rae Lusk of Springfield, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Baca County.
  • Christian Paul Tallman of Brandon, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Cheyenne County.

The member appointed to the Nineteenth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring November 30, 2013 is:

  • Donna Sapienza of Greeley, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Weld County.

The member appointed to the Twentieth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission for a term expiring December 31, 2017 is:

  • Rex Thomas Moody of Longmont, to serve as a non-attorney and as an Unaffiliated from Boulder County.

The Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission recommends candidates to serve as judges for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. The chief justice of the Supreme Court chairs the commission and is a non-voting member. This commission includes one citizen admitted to practice law in Colorado and one citizen not admitted to practice law residing in each of the state’s seven congressional districts, and one additional citizen not admitted to practice law in Colorado. The members appointed for terms expiring December 31, 2017:

  • Ann Elizabeth Hendrickson of Broomfield, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Republican from Broomfield County.
  • Olivia Mendoza of Lakewood, to serve as a non-attorney and as a Democrat from Jefferson County.

Click here to read the full announcement from the Governor’s Office.

Governor Hickenlooper Appoints Daniel Walzl to Alamosa County Court

On Wednesday, November 9, 2011, Governor John Hickenlooper announced his appointment of Daniel A. Walzl to serve as an Alamosa County court judge in the Twelfth Judicial District (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties). Walzl’s appointment is effective October 1, 2011.

Walzl will fill a vacancy created by the resignation of the Honorable Michael Gonzales, who was recently appointed to serve as a district court judge in the Twelfth Judicial District.

Walzl, of Alamosa, serves as the Office Head of the Colorado Public Defenders Office for the Alamosa Regional Office. Walzl previously served as a law clerk from 1999-2000 for the Honorable Thomas M. Jahnke, Superior Court, First Judicial District in Ketchikan, Alaska. The majority of Walzl’s legal career has been devoted to criminal litigation. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law.

Finalists Selected to Fill Judgeship in Alamosa County

The Twelfth Judicial District Nominating Commission has nominated three candidates for an Alamosa County Court judgeship created by the appointment of the Honorable Michael A. Gonzales to the Twelfth Judicial District Court, effective October 1, 2011.

The nominees for the bench are Peter Comar, Jason Kelly, and Daniel Walzl. All finalists are from Alamosa and were selected by the commission on Friday, October 21.

Under the Colorado Constitution, Governor Hickenlooper has until November 8 to appoint one of the nominees as County Court Judge for Alamosa County.

Comments regarding any of the nominees can be emailed to the Governor’s Office.