August 22, 2019

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.

First Class Set to Graduate from the Eighteenth Judicial District Mental Health Court

According to Colorado State Judicial, the two-and-a-half-year-old Eighteenth Judicial District Mental Health Court will mark a milestone on Friday, April 13, when four participants are scheduled to graduate from the program.

There are currently more than forty participants in the Eighteenth Judicial District Mental Health Court. This is the first class of participants to graduate since the Court’s inception. The graduating participants have been in the program for 20 to 24 months. Magistrate Laura Findorff presides over the Court’s docket.

In addition to the Eighteenth Judicial District, the Mental Health Court is supported by the district attorney’s office, public defender’s office, probation department, and Arapahoe Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN).

Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael L. Bender, who is slated to attend the graduation ceremony, lauded the Court for its progress.

“In just a very short amount of time this Court has made great strides in offering a comprehensive and collaborative treatment approach,” Chief Justice Bender said. “I am hopeful we will see more courts of this nature take form throughout Colorado.”

The graduation celebration is scheduled to begin at 10:30 am, following the Court’s regular 9:00 am docket in Courthouse One, Courtroom 201 of the Arapahoe County Justice Center (7325 S. Potomac Street, Centennial, CO 80112). The Court’s docket and graduation celebration are open to the public. Following the graduation, refreshments will be served in the jury assembly room.

The mission of the Mental Health Court is to reduce recidivism of offenders with mental illness in the criminal justice system, promote public safety, and improve quality of life for participants and their families with a cost effective, integrated continuum of care through community resources. The Mental Health Court holds defendants accountable and assists offenders to achieve long-term stability to become law-abiding citizens, and successful family and community members.

The Eighteenth Judicial District Mental Health Court is one of more than 60 problem-solving courts operating in 17 of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts.  Colorado’s problem-solving courts include adult and juvenile drug courts, family/dependency and neglect drug courts, DUI courts, adult and juvenile mental health courts, a veteran trauma court, and truancy courts.

Report from the ABA House of Delegates Meetings at the 2012 Midyear Meeting in New Orleans

I have the privilege of serving the Denver Bar Association as a delegate to the American Bar Association (“ABA”) House of Delegates.  The ABA House of Delegates met at the ABA’s midyear meeting held in New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 6, 2012.  This Article summarizes the House of Delegates events at the midyear meeting and the action taken by the House.

The Midyear Meeting was very well-attended.  It had the best reported attendance on record.  The ABA sponsored numerous programs on issues such as the Ethics 20/20 commission, the state court funding crisis, and efforts to improve access to justice.  There were many important issues addressed by the House of Delegates at the midyear meeting.  This Article summarizes a few of them.

Ethics 20/20 Commission’s White Papers and Proposals Relating to the Ethics of Litigation Financing, Non-Lawyer Ownership of Law Firms, Outsourcing, and the Use of Technology of Mobile Devices

Before the House of Delegates convened, the Ethics 20/20 Commission sent information around to the delegates regarding the work of the Commission and its proposals.  Specifically, the Commission informed the delegates of its plan to bifurcate its presentation of proposals to help facilitate the House of Delegates’ consideration of the Commission’s recommendations.  The decision to bifurcate the presentation of proposals foretells a concern that some of the Commission’s proposals will be controversial and will generate much discussion and debate.

Indeed, from the preview that the Commission has provided, some of the issues that the Commission will put before the House will generate much discussion.  The Commission has produced white papers that discuss many of the complex ethical issues that cannot effectively be addressed through changes to Model Rules.  Specifically, one of the Commission’s white papers discusses ethical issues involved with litigation financing, including issues regarding conflicts of interest, a lawyer’s duty of confidentiality, the attorney-client privilege, and rules regulating the exercise of the lawyer’s independent judgment.  The Commission’ white paper can be found by clicking here.

The Commission also is working on proposals relating to alternative business structures for law firms, outsourcing of legal services and confidentiality-related ethics issues arising from lawyers’ use of technology. Additionally, the Commission also is working on a model rule relating to lawyers’ obligations to retain client files.  An issues paper regarding alternative business structures for law firms – including non-lawyer ownership of law firms – has been distributed by the Commission.  It can be found by clicking here.

During the House of Delegates meeting, Former ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm addressed the House about the Commission’s progress.  President Lamm explained that numerous various roundtable sessions and meetings have been held around the country.  She explained that formal recommendations will be presented at the annual meeting in 2012 and at the midyear meeting in 2013.  President Lamm explained that one of the Commission’s more controversial issues is whether non-lawyers should be allowed under legal ethics rules to have a limited ownership interest in law firms in the United States.  This issue has been discussed extensively in Colorado previously.

President Lamm explained that the Commission is considering other issues relating to the need to balance the convenience and efficiencies inherent in a lawyer’s use of new technologies, while also preserving the lawyer-client relationship, confidentiality, competence and the values of the profession.  President Lamm explained that the Commission plans in presenting proposals on each of these issues for consideration by the House of Delegates.  All interested members of the Bar should get in touch with me or other Colorado delegates to discuss any concerns about any of the issues that are being considered by the Ethics 20/20 Commission, or the proposals that are likely coming from the Commission.

Summary of the House of Delegates

After the House of Delegates convened on February 6, 2012, the Delegates were greeted by Mitchell Landrieu, the Mayor of New Orleans, who also is a lawyer.  Mayor Landrieu talked about the challenges that the city has been through in recent years, with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the BP oil spill.  Mayor Landrieu quipped that the city is “waiting for locusts now.”  Mayor Landrieu’s speech was interesting and insightful, explaining that New Orleans is truly resilient and has become the “a laboratory for innovation and change,” because of the disasters it has suffered.  Mayor Landrieu’s speech was an excellent way to kick-off the work of the House.

After the Mayor’s speech and some other introductory actions, the House got to work debating and voting on resolutions before the House.  The House adopted a number of important resolutions, including:

  • Resolution 101A, which adopted the black letter ABA Criminal Justice Standards on Law Enforcement Access to Third Party which provide a framework through which legislatures, courts acting in their supervisory capacity and administrative agencies can balance the needs of law enforcement and the interests of privacy, freedom of expression and social participation.
  • Resolution 101B, which urged governments at various levels to require laboratories producing reports for use in criminal trials to adopt pretrial discovery procedures requiring comprehensive and comprehensible laboratory and forensic science reports, and listed relevant factors to be included in such reports.
  • Resolution 101C, which urged trial judges who have decided to admit expert testimony to consider a number of factors in determining the manner in which that evidence should be presented to the jury, and also provided guidance about how to instruct the jury in its evaluation of expert scientific testimony in criminal and delinquency proceedings.
  • Resolution 101F, which supported legislation, policies and practices that allow equal and uniform access to therapeutic courts and problem-solving sentencing alternatives, such as drug treatment and anger management counseling, regardless of the custody or detention status of the individual.
  • Resolution 113, which called for adoption as ABA policy uniform standards for language access in courts.  The policy provides clear guidance to courts in designing, implementing, and enforcing a comprehensive system of language access services that is suited to the need in the communities they serve.
  • Resolution 102B, which approved the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 2011, as an appropriate Act for those states desiring to adopt the specific substantive law suggested therein.  The Uniform Act provides rules for the authentication and preservation of electronic legal material.
  • Resolution 108, which urged state and territorial bar admission authorities to adopt rules and procedures to accommodate the unique needs of military spouse attorneys who move frequently in support of the nation’s defenses.
  • Resolution 111, which urged entities that administer a law school admission test to provide appropriate accommodations for a test taker with a disability to best ensure the exam reflects what the test is designed to measure and not the test taker’s disability.
  • Resolution 302, which supported the principle that “private” lawyers representing governmental entities are entitled to claim the same qualified immunity provided “government” lawyers when they are acting “under color of state law.”  This issue is particularly important given that there is a pending case before the United States Supreme Court considering this question.  See Filarsky v. Delia, U.S. No. 10-1018, argued 1/17/2012.

A summary of the resolutions adopted by the House can be found by clicking here.  Additionally, I can provide a copy of the resolutions to any interested reader. Contact me if interested.

Statement from President Robinson

In addition to this important work, the House of Delegates heard from Bill Robinson, President of the ABA.  President Robinson explained that the most pressing issue facing the legal system today is under-funding of the courts, which is at a crisis level.  President Robinson urged all ABA members to consider the under-funding crisis to be a threat to our liberty and rule of law.  President Robinson explained the ABA’s efforts to combat this crisis, including its extensive education efforts and its efforts to increase public awareness about the crisis.  Additionally, the ABA has made the crisis the core of the law day events, which will focus on the theme: “No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom.”

Nomination of James Silkenat as President-Elect

Additionally, the nominating committee announced that James Silkenat of New York was nominated to be President-Elect Designee of the ABA.  The House of Delegates will vote on his nomination at the Annual Meeting in Chicago this August.  If elected, Mr. Silkenat will serve a one-year term as President beginning in August, 2013.  All members of the Bar are urged to give any input on Mr. Silkenat to me or any of the other Colorado delegates.

Other Matters

Finally, the House of Delegates also considered other matters.  Those other matters included a report from the ABA’s Executive Director, Jack Rives, and a report from the ABA’s treasurer.  The House also heard from Chief Judge Washington, who is the President of the Conference of Chief Justices.  Chief Judge Washington spoke about language access to the courts.  He also discussed the core focuses of the Conference, which are judicial independence and civics education.

Conclusion

I hope this Article sufficiently highlighted many of the more interesting or important the agenda items considered by the House of Delegates at the midyear meeting in New Orleans.  I appreciate all input that any members of the Denver Bar Association have regarding any of the issues that have been considered, or will be considered, by the ABA House of Delegates.

The American Bar Association is offering a free trial membership in the ABA and in a section of the ABA. Sign up here.

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Seventeenth Judicial District Celebrates Launch of Drug Court in Adams County Tomorrow

Colorado State Judicial has announced that the Seventeenth Judicial District will officially launch a drug court in the Adams County Court with a kick-off celebration tomorrow, Wednesday, September 28, 2011 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. The event will be held in the jury assembly room at the Adams County Justice Center in Brighton (1100 Judicial Center Drive).  Members of the public are invited to attend in anticipation of the first docket for the new drug court being called next week on October 6, in division 8.

“This type of problem solving court has proven effective in both saving money for the taxpayers and bringing about positive change and accountability to the individuals that have drug dependency,” said Adams County Court Judge Leroy Kirby, who will preside over the drug court.  “This has truly been a team effort with all the essential agencies involved and would not be successful without them.  The Seventeenth Judicial District now joins numerous other adult drug treatment courts throughout the State of Colorado in offering a problem solving solution.”

Problem-solving courts have been shown to be an effective means of reducing substance abuse and increasing the likelihood that people will remain in recovery and reintegrate into their communities as productive and contributing members, with fewer instances of relapse or recurrence of criminal behavior than traditional court proceedings.

“Drug courts change lives by reducing the number of people committing future crimes,” said Seventeenth Judicial District Attorney Don Quick.  “These proven, cost-saving programs for non-violent offenders benefit not only the abusers, but also their families and the community.”

The Adams County Drug Court is committed to an integrated and collaborative effort of treatment, accountability, and rehabilitation of drug dependent offenders.  The program is designed to ensure community safety and create healthy individuals and families while reducing costs and recidivism.

The Adams County Drug Court is one of more than sixty problem-solving courts operating in seventeen of Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts. Colorado’s problem-solving courts include adult and juvenile drug courts, family/dependency and neglect drug courts, DUI courts, adult and juvenile mental health courts, veteran trauma courts, and truancy courts.

Denver Drug Court Opens a Special Track for Veterans

Earlier this month, the Denver Adult Drug Court implemented a Veterans Track within its existing problem-solving courts program. As a result, some military veterans charged with non-violent crimes may now have the opportunity to be enrolled in the court-monitored treatment and accountability program.

The drug court program was expanded to create the new track, which is designed to balance the specialized treatment needs of veterans with the need to protect the community’s safety. The goal is to provide non-violent offenders with effective treatment while still holding them accountable for their actions.

According to the press release from State Judicial, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports that one in six veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from a substance abuse challenge; one in five has symptoms of a mental disorder or cognitive impairment. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be an underlying factor in crimes allegedly committed by veterans and their subsequent involvement with the criminal justice system.

“The Denver Adult Drug Court once again is in the forefront in addressing the critical needs of vulnerable segments of our society,” said Denver District Court Chief Judge Robert S. Hyatt. “Providing a specialized court experience for veterans is a logical extension of the many services already available in the Denver Adult Drug Court.”

The new arm of the Denver Adult Drug Court is the second court program in Colorado specifically designed to address the needs of military veterans. A Veteran Trauma Court in the Fourth Judicial District, which serves El Paso and Teller counties, has been operating for two years with a similar goal and program.

Other new services provided to veterans have also been organized this month. The Colorado Bar Association is sponsoring Veterans’ Legal Clinics, which begin in November. Additionally, a new website has been created to connect local veterans with the people who want to help them resolve their legal issues.

For more information on Veterans Track program and the Veterans Trauma Court, contact Laura Williams, Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health, at (303) 866-7433 or laura.williams@state.co.us.

Click here to read the full press release about the veterans track from State Judicial.

Jefferson County to Graduate Largest Class Yet from its Recovery Court

The Jefferson County Recovery Court marks a milestone on Friday, August 12, 2011 when three participants are scheduled to graduate from the program, its largest graduation yet since beginning two years ago.

Four classes have graduated so far from the Recovery Court, which is essentially a Drug Court (similar to adult drug courts found in about twenty other counties around the state) but with the addition of a restorative justice component. Participants must complete an eighteen-month intensive-treatment program that includes probation supervision, in-court review hearings, substantial judicial oversight, and full accountability by the Recovery Court participant.

Unlike many other drug court programs, however, the Jefferson County Recovery Court requires each participant to create a restorative justice program as part of his or her treatment plan. Participants design and carry out community-service projects intended to repair some of the harm they have caused through their drug use and previous criminal behavior.

Friday’s graduates developed and implemented the following court-approved projects:

  • Creation of a menu and assistance with food preparation plans and service at the Denver Rescue Mission
  • Organization of a food-donation program involving a Honey Baked Ham store to benefit local shelters
  • Volunteer work at the Aspen Center for Women.

The graduation hearing will be held at the Jefferson County Combined Courts, 100 Jefferson County Parkway, Courtroom 5C, beginning at noon.

The Jefferson County Recovery Court is one of more than sixty problem-solving courts operating in seventeen of Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts. Colorado’s problem-solving courts include adult and juvenile drug courts, family/dependency and neglect drug courts, DUI courts, adult and juvenile mental health courts, a veteran trauma court, and truancy courts.

Click here to read the full press release from State Judicial.

Larimer County DUI Court Celebrates its First Anniversary

Today, Friday, July 15, 2011, the Larimer County DUI Court is celebrating its first anniversary. The problem-solving court opened in July 2010 with the mission of promoting public safety by providing qualifying repeat DUI offenders with intensive court supervision, prompt and comprehensive access to treatment, and accountability for their progress in the program. The court’s main priorities are reducing the occurrence of DUIs in Larimer County and the rehabilitation and accountability of those most at risk to commit the offense.

The DUI Court program applies cost-effective, evidence-based methods to achieve its outcomes. Participants are reviewed regularly by the network of agencies that make up the DUI Court team, which includes representatives from the Probation Department, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, the private defense bar, local treatment providers, and the Larimer County offices for the Sheriff, Criminal Justice Services, Alternative Sentencing Department, and Pretrial Services.

Participants work to improve all areas of their lives, but the treatment of their substance abuse issues is the primary emphasis of their supervision.  Participants are encouraged to build positive, sober connections in the community that will help them to live more successfully in recovery and reduce the incidence of relapse.

The DUI Court requires a minimum of eighteen months of participation over four phases to complete. Of the court’s twenty-one participants, four have reached the third phase of the program, and several more promotions to Phase 3 are anticipated by the end of the summer.

The program is offered to qualifying repeat DUI defendants through a sentence agreement with the District Attorney, with reduced jail offered as an incentive to participate. Through mid-July, the current participants’ willingness to submit to the rigors of the DUI Court saved the county approximately 1,900 days of jail time that would have otherwise been imposed.

More than sixty problem-solving courts are in operation in seventeen of Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts. In addition to DUI courts, other problem-solving courts operating in the state include adult and juvenile drug courts and mental health courts, dependency and neglect courts for families, truancy courts, and a veteran trauma court.  In addition to the DUI Court, Larimer County also operates adult and juvenile Drug Courts and a Dependency/Neglect Court.

Click here to read the full press release regarding the DUI Court anniversary from State Judicial

Weld County DUI Court to Celebrate its First Graduation

The Weld County DUI Court in Greeley will celebrate its first graduation in a ceremony on Thursday, July 7, when two participants are slated to complete their obligations with the court.

Judge Michele Meyer will preside over the graduation ceremony, which is set for 11:30 am in Division 17. A reception will follow.

The problem-solving court opened over a year ago, in early 2010, with the mission to promote public safety by providing intensive court supervision and prompt treatment for qualifying DUI offenders. The court’s participants receive help in maintaining their sobriety through education, incentives, encouragement for individual responsibility, and sanctions for violations. Support comes from a network of agencies, including the Nineteenth Judicial District, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, counseling and treatment providers, and private legal counsel. The program’s five phases of treatment take a minimum of eighteen months to complete.

The court currently has nineteen participants. Slated for graduation on Thursday are Alberto Herrera-Antuna, who was the first person accepted into the program on February 4, 2010, and William Bourassa.

More than sixty problem-solving courts are in operation in seventeen of Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts. Problem-solving courts in the state include adult and juvenile drug courts, family/dependency and neglect courts, DUI courts, adult and juvenile mental health courts, a veteran trauma court, and truancy courts.

The full press release from State Judicial regarding the DUI Court graduation can be found here.

Eighth Judicial District’s Adult Drug Court Celebrating National Drug Court Month: A Proven Budget Solution

The Denver Drug Court isn’t the only problem-solving court in Colorado celebrating National Drug Court Month. This month, the Eighth Judicial District Adult Drug Court is also recognizing the 162 people who have graduated from the program since it began a decade ago.

District Court Judge Daniel J. Kaup presides over the court in Larimer County, where programs identify substance abusers in the criminal justice system. Participants are held accountable through an integrated supervision program designed to address substance abuse issues through treatment and rehabilitation. Judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, treatment providers, and court staff work collaboratively to enforce compliance with court orders through a system of graduated rewards and sanctions. Accordingly, frequent court appearances before a sitting judge is an important factor for success in the program.

The program currently has sixty-three participants and has successfully graduated 162 people in the last decade. Locally, 93% of drug court graduates are not charged with a new felony or misdemeanor within a year after their graduation; 80% have not been charged with a new felony or misdemeanor within three years of graduating.

In addition to the Adult Drug Court, Larimer County began a DUI Court in July 2010, and is also home to a Juvenile Drug Court Program, a Family Treatment Court, and Colorado State University administers a Campus Court.

In honor of National Drug Court Month, the national focus is on the monumental societal and economic benefits of Drug Courts. At a time when local, state, and federal budgets are stretched, Drug Courts are highlighting their programs as effective tools for reducing substance abuse and crime and improving safety, and as more cost effective than straight incarceration. More information on the success of Drug Courts and National Drug Court Month can be found at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals website.

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Denver’s New Sobriety Court Opening Today

Today, Denver County Court is launching its new Sobriety Court. The problem-solving court will target repeat drunk drivers with a combination of supervision, treatment, and sanctions in an effort to improve public safety.

Denver’s Sobriety Court is designed to address the ongoing challenge of repeat alcohol offenders for whom traditional sentencing has not worked. It is estimated that there are more than two million impaired drivers with three or more DUI convictions in the United States, and that approximately twenty-percent of Denver’s DUI defendants each year are repeat offenders.

Denver County Court Judge Brian Campbell will preside over the Sobriety Court. Defendants participating in the new program will be tested on a regular basis for alcohol use and are required to appear in court weekly. Throughout the process, they will receive incentives for doing well and be penalized for noncompliance. Participants will also receive long-term, rigorous treatment designed to address core issues with repeat offenders.

A recent study found that repeat offenders who take part in a DUI court program are nineteen times less likely to drink and drive than those in traditional court, and are three times less likely to commit any other offense.  The study also found savings in time and money by getting impaired drivers under supervision and into treatment more quickly and using sanctions, including jail, more strategically.

Denver Drug Court to Hold Graduation Ceremony in Celebration of National Drug Court Month

The Denver Drug Court will hold a special graduation ceremony on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, to celebrate National Drug Court Month and the twenty-second anniversary of the establishment of drug courts throughout the nation.

Thirty-eight men and women are slated to graduate from the Denver Drug Court program on Wednesday, bringing the total number of 2011 graduates to 102. Last year, 232 people graduated from the program. “Graduation marks a drug court participant’s completion of a 12- to 24-month intensive treatment program that includes probation supervision, in-court review hearings, substantial judicial oversight, and full accountability of the Drug Court participant.”

The ceremony will be held at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse, 520 W. Colfax Ave., in the Jury Room, Room 100, at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Among those scheduled to speak are Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael L. Bender and former governor Bill Ritter.

The Denver Drug Court was originally established in 1994 as one of the first drug courts in the country. In 2007, the Denver Drug Court was redesigned to become more effective. The court is absorbing nearly 40 percent of the criminal filings that would otherwise land on a traditional district court docket, greatly reducing the amount of time the court needs to process a drug case.

National Drug Court Month is coordinated on a national level by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, which was established in 1994 to assist in the planning, implementation and operation of drug courts. What started in a Florida courtroom 22 years ago has become the nation’s most successful strategy for dealing with substance-abusing offenders. The Denver Drug Court graduation is being held in concert with graduations in many of the 2,500 Drug Courts across the country.

Activities and commemorations during National Drug Court Month will center on the theme “Drug Courts: A Proven Budget Solution.”

Congratulations to the Colorado Judicial Department’s Outstanding Employees of 2010

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. On Friday, March 25, 2011, the Judicial Department announced its 2010 awards recipients:

  • Court Employee of the Year – Gayle Tenorio
    • Tenorio is division clerk in the Boulder County Court and was nominated for the award by a judge, magistrate, and handful of court judicial assistants serving the Twentieth Judicial District. Tenorio’s positive attitude, work ethic, and attention to detail were all traits noted by those who nominated her.
  • Judicial Officer of the YearThe Honorable David A. Bottger
    • Bottger is chief judge of the Twenty-first Judicial District. His thoughtfulness and caring of the trial court employees and community in Mesa County, trust in his management team, refraining from micromanagement, and challenging his team were qualities noted by those who nominated him.
  • Manager of the Year – Karen Salaz
    • Salaz is district administrator of the Nineteenth Judicial District. She was noted as being a role model for all employees by assisting in many areas during staff shortages, striving for fairness, and working after hours and on weekends with representatives from Weld County and contractors on a recent construction project to add five courtrooms.
  • Probation Employee of the Year – Karoline Borega-Kern
    • Borega-Kern is an officer in the Female Offender Program in the Fourth Judicial District (El Paso and Teller counties) Probation Department. Those who nominated her noted that she always goes above and beyond her normal duties, taking on extra work while maintaining a positive attitude, and being a serious advocate for the women in the Female Offender Program to help them successfully complete their probation terms.
  • State Court Administrator’s Office Employee of the Year – Shane Bahr
    • Bahr is program coordinator for Colorado’s problem-solving courts. Since joining the Judicial Department in 2007, he is noted as having worked tirelessly to ensure the successful implementation and maintenance of these courts throughout the state by securing grant funding for problem-solving courts such as drug court, truancy court, and DUI court, helping to develop their data-gathering capabilities, and helping lead annual conferences attended by hundreds of professionals.
  • Team AwardMichael Arriaga, Grace Cozzetto, Amanda McGowan, Lisa Padilla, Mike Ramirez, and Janet Sisneros
    • The recipients of this award comprise the six-member juvenile probation team in the Tenth Judicial District (Pueblo County). The team members were commended by those nominating them for their dedication to children and the program, along with their collaborative approach within the community to problem solving and professionalism.

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 nearly 900 probation supervisors and officers. The department’s officers are responsible for supervising approximately 6,400 juvenile offenders and 55,500 adult offenders. As of July 1, 2010, the Colorado Judicial Branch employed approximately 3,400 employees, which includes 316 justices, judges, and magistrates. In fiscal year 2010, the latest for which full statistics are available, there were 541,591 cases filed statewide at the County Court level, 236,671 cases filed in District Court, 2,890 in the Court of Appeals, and 1,518 in the Supreme Court. There were 1,215 cases filed in the water courts.