July 20, 2019

HB 17-1142: Allowing Court Clerks to Use Electronic Notice

On February 1, 2017, Rep. Dominique Jackson and Sen. Bob Gardner introduced HB 17-1142, “Concerning Certain Court Proceedings.”

Under current law, the clerk of the court mails notice of the filing of certain petitions and the date and time of hearings on the petition to specified interested parties by registered mail. The bill changes the process so the clerk of the court may send the notice by first-class mail or electronically using the e-filing system of the judicial department.

Under current law, if a respondent in a domestic relations action cannot be personally served and is served by publication, the clerk of the court is required to post a copy of the process on a bulletin board in the clerk’s office for 35 days after the date of publication and may post the notice online on the court’s website. The bill gives the clerk the option of posting the notice online on the court’s website rather than on a bulletin board.

The bill also updates the time frame for holding certain hearings to multiples of 7 days.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Judiciary Committee. It is scheduled for hearing in committee on February 14, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.

HB 17-1162: Repealing Drivers’ License Penalties for Unpaid Court Judgment

On February 6, 2017, Rep. Matt Gray introduced HB 17-1162, “Concerning Action that Can be Taken Against an Individual Based on the Individual’s Failure to Pay for a Traffic Violation.”

Under current law, an individual who is cited for certain traffic infractions must either pay the penalty assessment or appear in court for a hearing. If the individual neither pays the infraction nor appears for a hearing, the court must issue a judgment against the individual. An individual who has an outstanding judgment:

  • May have their driver’s license canceled;
  • May not receive a new driver’s license; and
  • May not renew a current driver’s license.

The bill repeals these penalties and provides courts with the option of withholding a driver’s state income tax refund in order to satisfy the outstanding judgment.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Judiciary Committee.

CJD 06-03 Regarding Language Interpreters and Court Access Amended

On Wednesday, June 1, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced that Chief Justice Directive 06-03, “Directive Concerning Language Interpreters and Access to the Courts by Persons of Limited English Proficiency,” was amended, effective May 31, 2016.

The changes to the Chief Justice Directive include updating the name of the Office of Language Access, which was formerly known as the Court Interpreter Program, and minor editorial changes to clarify the use of certified and credentialed interpreters for both in-person and telephonic events in order to further the Judicial Department’s mission of ensuring people of limited English proficiency have full access to the courts.

For all of the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Directives, click here.

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to Hold Ceremony Dedicating Oklahoma City Courthouse to Judge Holloway

holloway1On February 2, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals announced that it will hold a ceremony on February 12, 2016, to dedicate the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City to Judge William J. Holloway, Jr. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. in the ceremonial courtroom.

Judge Holloway was the longest sitting judge on the Tenth Circuit. He passed away in April 2014 at the age of 90. He was born in Oklahoma and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma and his law degree from Harvard Law School. He worked both as an attorney in private practice and for the U.S. Department of Justice before his appointment to the Tenth Circuit in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. He served on the Tenth Circuit for more than 45 years and was Chief Judge from 1984 to 1991.

In January 2015, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, introduced legislation proposing to change the name of the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City to honor Judge Holloway.  Senate Bill 261 was signed into law by President Obama on October 5, 2015.

For more information about the dedication ceremony, click here.

Bonnie McLean Appointed to Eighteenth Judicial District Bench

On Wednesday, September 4, 2014, the governor’s office announced his appointment of Bonnie McLean to the bench of the Eighteenth Judicial District Court, encompassing Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln counties. McLean will replace Hon. Vincent R. White, who is retiring. The appointment is effective January 13, 2015.

McLean is currently a magistrate in the Eighteenth Judicial District, where she presides over a juvenile court docket and is in charge of the district’s mental health, drug, and veterans’ treatment courts. She helped develop the first drug court in the Eighteenth Judicial District. Prior to her appointment as a magistrate in 2006, McLean worked as a deputy district attorney in the Eighteenth Judicial District, where she was in charge of the juvenile delinquency unit. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and her law degree from the University of Denver.


Tenth Circuit: Filing Restrictions Imposed on Abusive, Frivolous Pro Se Filer

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in Landrith v. Schmidt on Tuesday, October 15, 2013.

Bret D. Landrith was admitted to the Kansas bar in 2002, but he was disbarred in 2005 for violating six of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct and “total incompetence in the practice of law.” He began filing baseless lawsuits and appeals related to the disbarment proceedings, as well as other unrelated frivolous and abusive lawsuits and mandamus proceedings.

The Tenth Circuit ordered Landrith to show cause why the court should not impose the following filing restrictions on him: “Subject to Landrith’s opportunity to file written objections that we outline below, we propose to enjoin Landrith from petitioning this court for relief, either by appeal or through an original proceeding, including a petition for a writ of mandamus under 28 U.S.C. § 1361, unless he either (1) is represented by an attorney who is admitted to practice in this court or (2) obtains permission to proceed pro se.”

Landrith failed to demonstrate good cause why the proposed filing restrictions should not be imposed. The court therefore ordered that the filing restrictions take effect immediately upon entry of this order.

Patrick T. Murphy Appointed Chief Judge for the 17th Judicial District

On October 7, 2013, Chief Justice Michael L. Bender appointed District Judge Patrick T. Murphy as the new chief judge for the 17th Judicial District, which encompasses Adams and Broomfield counties. He replaces retiring Chief Judge C. Vincent Phelps, who was appointed to the District Court bench in 1996, and named chief judge in July 2008. Judge Murphy’s appointment is effective Jan. 31, 2014.

Judge Murphy was appointed to the District Court bench in 2004 after 22 years in private practice, including starting the firm of Purvis, Gray and Murphy. From 1981 to 1986, he served as an assistant United States attorney, and before that, served in the Weld County and Boulder County district attorney offices.

Anthony Navarro Appointed to Colorado Court of Appeals

On Friday, October 12, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper appointed Anthony Navarro of Denver to the Colorado Court of Appeals. His appointment will be effective November 3, 2012.

Since 2010, Mr. Navarro has served as the Supervisory Attorney and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Social Security Administration’s Office of General Counsel. Prior to this, he was Assistant Regional Counsel/Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Social Security Administration, and he also worked at Holland & Hart in the commercial litigation practice group.

Mr. Navarro will fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Hon. Robert Russel, whose resignation is effective November 3, 2012.

Patrick Murphy Appointed as New Eleventh Judicial District Court Judge

On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper appointed Patrick Murphy to serve as a district court judge in the Eleventh Judicial District, which covers Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, and Park counties. Murphy will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Julie G. Marshall. His appointment is effective immediately.

Murphy currently serves as the head of the Colorado State Public Defender office in Salida. He has worked as a Public Defender in the Eleventh Judicial District for seventeen years.

Murphy earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from the University of Colorado College of Law.

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.

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.