November 18, 2018

Harold Sargent Appointed to Jefferson County Court; Richard Medina Appointed to Crowley County Court

On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the governor’s appointment of Harold Sargent to the Jefferson County Court in the First Judicial District and Richard Medina to the Crowley County Court in the 16th Judicial District. Sargent will fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Hon. Tammy Greene, effective April 1, 2017. Medina will fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Hon. Suzanne A. Grant, effective February 23, 2017.

Sargent is currently a Chief Deputy District Attorney in the First Judicial District. In addition to practicing law, Sargent supervises lawyers in the Juvenile Mental Health Court, Veterans Treatment Court, and Adult Mental Health Court. Before being named Chief Deputy District Attorney in 1999, Sargent was a Deputy District Attorney in the First Judicial District from 1983 to 1999. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from the University of Denver.

Medina is currently a Crowley County land use administrator and building inspector, and a Kiowa County GED instructor. Medina has also worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service and a case manager for the Colorado Department of Corrections. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

For more information about the appointments, click here.

Application Period Open for Crowley County Court Vacancy

On Thursday, December 30, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced an upcoming vacancy on the Crowley County Court in the Sixteenth Judicial District. The vacancy will be created by the resignation of Hon. Suzanne A. Grant, effective April 15, 2017.

Applications are now being accepted for the vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of Crowley County and must have graduated high school or attained the equivalent. Application forms are available from Justice Monica Marquez, the ex officio chair of the Sixteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission, or on the State Judicial website. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on February 3, 2017, in order to be considered. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than January 27, 2017.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Supreme Court and Judicial Nominating Commission Appointments Announced

On Friday, December 4, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper’s office announced the appointments of several people to judicial nominating commissions and the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, effective January 1, 2016, for six-year terms expiring December 31, 2021.

Each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts has a judicial nominating commission comprised of seven members—four non-attorneys and three attorneys, of whom no more than four may be from the same political party. In districts with populations of less than 35,000, at least four of the nominating commission members must be non-attorneys. Judicial nominating commission members must live in the judicial district for which they will serve. Judicial nominating commissions are responsible for reviewing applicants for judicial vacancies in their district and selecting applicants for nomination to the bench. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission selects applicants for nomination to the Colorado Supreme Court and Colorado Court of Appeals. It is comprised of fifteen members—one non-attorney and one attorney from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, plus one at-large member.

Governor Hickenlooper’s nominating commission appointments are as follows:

  • Supreme Court Nominating Commission: Jay Patel of Colorado Springs was appointed to serve as a non-attorney and a Republican from the Fifth Congressional District.
  • Second Judicial District Nominating Commission: Melody Mirbaba of Denver was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated attorney from Denver County.
  • Third Judicial District Nominating Commission: Pamela Nelson of Trinidad was appointed to serve as a Republican and an attorney from Las Animas County and Mary Ray White of La Veta was appointed to serve as a Republican and an attorney from Huerfano County.
  • Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Mary Linden of Colorado Springs was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from El Paso County; Philip Mella of Woodland Park was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Teller County; Juan Moreno of Colorado Springs was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from El Paso County; Daniel Nicholson of Woodland Park was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated non-attorney from Teller County.
  • Fifth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Heather Manolakas of Basalt was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated attorney from Eagle County; Todd Rankin of Breckenridge was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Summit County.
  • Seventh Judicial District Nominating Commission: Richard Haggerty of Telluride was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from San Miguel County; William Masters of Telluride was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from San Miguel County; Eric McPhail of Gunnison was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Gunnison County.
  • Eighth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Tracy Ann Oldemeyer of Fort Collins was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated attorney from Larimer County; Katherine Corey of Johnstown was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Larimer County; Thomas Milligan of Fort Collins was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Larimer County.
  • Ninth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Scott Grosscup of Glenwood Springs was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from Garfield County.
  • Tenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Gloria Gutierrez of Pueblo was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Pueblo County.
  • Fifteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Garth Nieschburg of Lamar was appointed to serve as a Republican and an attorney from Prowers County.
  • Sixteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: H. Barton Mendenhall, II, of Rocky Ford was appointed to serve as a Republican and an attorney from Otero County; Anita “Betsy” Dillon of Ordway was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Crowley County.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Christina Gomez of Commerce City was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from Adams County; Jennifer Chavez of Westminster was appointed to serve as a Republican and a non-attorney from Adams County; Joann Dawe of Westminster was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated non-attorney from Adams County.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Adelita DeHerrera of Aurora was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from Arapahoe County.
  • Nineteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Thomas Fasano of Windsor was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Weld County; Virginia Rosales of Greeley was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Weld County.
  • Twentieth Judicial District Nominating Commission: Benita Duran of Boulder was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Boulder County; Mary Friedrichs of Boulder was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Boulder County.
  • Twenty-First Judicial District Nominating Commission: Martha Kent of Grand Junction was appointed to serve as a Democrat and an attorney from Mesa County; Lesley McWhirter of Grand Junction was appointed to serve as a Democrat and a non-attorney from Mesa County.
  • Twenty-Second Judicial District Nominating Commission: Kinsey Ertel of Cortez was appointed to serve as an unaffiliated non-attorney from Montezuma County.

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

Application Period Open for Several Judicial Nominating Commission Vacancies

On Thursday, September 24, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced several upcoming vacancies on Judicial Nominating Commissions. The application period for these vacancies is now open. Applications must be submitted online at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/governor/boards-and-commissions-application, and will be accepted through October 31, 2015. The vacancies will open December 31, 2015.

Judicial nominating commissions are comprised of seven members from their respective judicial districts, of whom no more than four can be of the same political party. In voting districts with populations greater than 35,000, no more than three judicial nominating commission members can be attorneys. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission consists of one attorney and one non-attorney from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, plus one at large member who is not an attorney. The nominating commissions vacancies are listed here.

  • Supreme Court Nominating Commission – One vacancy for a non-attorney in the Fifth Congressional District.
  • First Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for an attorney in Gilpin County.
  • Second Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for an attorney.
  • Third Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies for attorneys.
  • Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Four vacancies, one attorney and three non-attorneys. No more than two appointees may be registered as Democrat, no more than three may be registered as Republican, and one must reside in Teller County.
  • Fifth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies, one for an attorney and one for a non-attorney. No more than one of the appointees may be registered as Democrat.
  • Seventh Judicial District Nominating Commission – Three vacancies, one for an attorney and two for non-attorneys. One appointee must be from San Miguel County and one must be from Gunnison County, and no more than two appointees may be registered as Republican.
  • Eighth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Three vacancies, one for an attorney and two for non-attorneys. No more than two appointees may be registered as either Democrat or Republican.
  • Ninth Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for an attorney.
  • Tenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for a non-attorney.
  • Fifteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for an attorney.
  • Sixteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies, one for an attorney and one for a non-attorney.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Three vacancies, one for an attorney and two for non-attorneys. No more than one appointee may be registered as Democrat.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies, one for an attorney and one for a non-attorney. No more than one appointee may be registered as Republican.
  • Nineteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies for non-attorneys.
  • Twentieth Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies for non-attorneys.
  • Twenty-First Judicial District Nominating Commission – Two vacancies, one for an attorney and one for a non-attorney. No more than one appointee may be registered as Republican.
  • Twenty-Second Judicial District Nominating Commission – One vacancy for a non-attorney. The appointee may not be registered as Republican.

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

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.

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.

The Honorable M. Jon Kolomitz to Retire from Sixteenth Judicial District Court Bench

The Sixteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet on Monday, December 10, 2012 to interview and select nominees for appointment by Governor Hickenlooper to the bench of the district court in the Sixteenth Judicial District. The Sixteenth Judicial District comprises Bent, Otero, and Crowley counties. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of the Honorable M. Jon Kolomitz.

Judge M. Jon Kolomitz was appointed to the District Court bench on February 1, 1985. He became Chief Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial District in July 1988. As the Chief Judge, Judge Kolomitz performs administrative duties overseeing court administration within the District. These administrative duties are in addition to his primary duties as a trial judge. As a District Judge, Judge Kolomitz hears felony criminal, domestic relations (including Dependency and Neglect cases), probate, mental health and civil cases.

Eligible applicants to fill the vacancy must be qualified electors of the Sixteenth Judicial District, and must have been admitted to the practice of law in Colorado for five years. Applications are available from the ex officio chair of the nominating commission, Justice Brian Boatright, and also from the office of the district administrator and the State Judicial website. Applications must be submitted no later than 4 p.m. on November 27, 2012.

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

2011 Judicial Branch Awards Received by 1st, 7th, 8th, 16th, 17th, and 18th Judicial Districts

Several Judicial Branch Awards for 2011 were announced on Monday, June 11, 2012:

  • The 2011 Colorado Judicial Branch Team of the Year award went to the Eighth Judicial District Juvenile Probation Unit;
  • The 2011 Colorado Judicial Branch Manager of the Year award went to David Book, a probation supervisor in La Junta in the Sixteenth Judicial District;
  • The 2011 Colorado Judicial Branch Court Employee of the Year award went to Jenni Turnidge, managing court interpreter for the Eighteenth Judicial District;
  • The 2011 Colorado Judicial Branch State Court Administrator’s Office Employee of the Year award went to Emy López;
  • The 2011 Colorado Judicial Branch Judicial Officer of the Year award went to the Honorable Sandra K. Miller, Delta County Court Judge; and
  • The 2011 Colorado Judicial Branch Probation Employee of the Year award went to Judy Sanger, a probation officer who works with juveniles in the First Judicial District.

The Colorado Judicial Branch annually recognizes a handful of outstanding employees for exemplary work contributing to the high quality of service provided throughout the state’s twenty-two judicial districts.

Nominating the Juvenile Probation team were numerous professionals involved in juvenile justice and rehabilitation throughout the Eighth Judicial District, which serves Jackson and Larimer counties.

Members of the Eighth Judicial District Probation Team are Francesca Arruzza-Obrien, Lori Bragg, Denise Cosgrove, Moriah Eisert, Courtney Gailey, Paula Gates, Tom Harbaugh, Tonya Hertz, Lawrence Hollier, Dirk Kettlekamp, Jessica Link, Mandi Lozano, Scott Newbold, Trevor Quinlivan, Tracy Stromberg, Dixie Vogel, Gordon Walker, and Carol Wright.

Book was nominated for the award by Sixteenth Judicial District Chief Probation Officer Tobin Wright, Chief Judge Jon Kolomitz, other members of the probation department, and Joseph Carrica III, assistant executive director for the Southeast Behavioral Health Group.

Turnidge was nominated for the award by twenty-two district and county court judges and magistrates serving the Eighteenth Judicial District. The judicial officers nominated Turnidge because she exemplifies the dedication and devotion to the Judicial Branch to which all Judicial employees should aspire.

López was nominated for the award by Colleen Kent, managing court interpreter for the Seventeenth Judicial District.

Judge Miller was nominated for the award by Pamela Bliss, volunteer coordinator with Meth Free Delta County, and Seventh Judicial District Probation Officer Juan P. Gallegos.

Sanger was nominated for the award by several judges, a prosecutor, and others involved with the Jefferson County Mental Health Court, where she was the first supervising probation officer.

The Colorado Judicial Branch includes the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, as well as the state’s district and county trial courts.  The branch is also home to the Department of Probation Services, which employs more than 1,100 people including approximately 900 probation supervisors and officers.  The department’s officers are responsible for supervising more than 6,000 juvenile offenders and more than 54,000 adult offenders.

As of July 1, 2011, the Colorado Judicial Branch employed approximately 3,400 employees, which includes 374 justices, judges, and magistrates. In fiscal year 2011, the latest for which full statistics are available, there were 505,265 cases filed statewide at the County Court level, 246, 728 filed in District Court, 2,742 in the Court of Appeals and 1,387 in the Supreme Court.  There were an additional 956 cases filed in the Water Courts.