June 20, 2019

Mark D. Thompson Appointed Chief Judge of Fifth Judicial District Upon Retirement of R. Thomas Moorhead

On Tuesday, September 24, 2013, Chief Justice Michael Bender appointed Mark D. Thompson as the Chief Judge of the Fifth Judicial District. Judge Thompson will replace Hon. R. Thomas Moorhead, who will retire effective December 1, 2013.

Judge Moorhead has been the Chief Judge since 2010. He was appointed to the Fifth Judicial District Court bench in 2002, and prior to that he was the Eagle County Attorney. He was the town attorney for the Town of Vail from 1993 to 2001, and also spent a great deal of his career in Ohio. He received his J.D. from Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 1975.

Judge Thompson was appointed to the Fifth Judicial District Court bench in 2010. He is a graduate of the University of Denver School of Law, and was partner at a Denver firm before moving to the mountains and joining the Breckenridge firm of French, West & Brown, where he became partner in 1999.

For more information about the appointments, click here.

Finalists Selected for Fifth and Ninth Judicial District Court Bench

Finalists have been selected by the nominating commissions for the Fifth and Ninth Judicial Districts to fill district court judgeships created by HB 13-1035, effective July 1, 2013. Nominees for the Ninth Judicial District Court were selected on May 17, 2013, and nominees for the Fifth Judicial District Court were selected on May 20, 2013. Governor Hickenlooper has 15 days after receiving the nominations to select one of the candidates; if he fails to do so within that time, the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court will select a nominee.

The nominees for the Ninth Judicial District Court are John Neiley of Glenwood Springs, Scott Turner of Glenwood Springs, and Colleen Scissors of Basalt. Contact information for the nominees may be found on the State Judicial website. The Ninth Judicial District comprises Garfield, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco counties.

The nominees for the Fifth Judical District Court are Paul Dunkelman of Silverthorne, Courtney Holm of Edwards, and Dewey (Wayne) Patton of Leadville. Contact information for these nominees is also available on the State Judicial website. Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, and Summit counties make up the Fifth Judicial District.

Anyone wishing to submit comments regarding the nominees may send them to the governor via email.

Fifth Judicial District Now Home to Colorado’s Newest Drug Court

In October, Summit County launched Colorado’s latest Drug Court, a problem-solving court “focused on treating substance abuse among qualifying criminal offenders.” The court will also serve the counties of Clear Creek and Eagle within the Fifth Judicial District. The area has seen a high percentage of criminal cases relating to drug and alcohol addiction. Instead of simply sending such offenders to prison, the new court will seek to help treat the addiction and reduce recidivism.

The new Drug Court is one of over fifty such problem-solving courts in Colorado. Participants are screened and approved through a multidisciplinary process, and engage in rehabilitation through “monitoring, customized treatment programs, intensive supervision and regular, in-person court review hearings.” Additionally, participants, capped at 15 for the court’s initial client list, must undergo counseling and submit to random and frequent drug and alcohol testing.

Rehabilitation and financial statistics from the drug courts are also impressive and further bolster the program. “Seventy-five percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program, and every dollar invested in drug courts results in a net savings of $3.36 that would have otherwise been spent on criminal justice costs.

More information about drug courts can be found here.

The Colorado Judicial Branch press release can be found here.