DENVER - A bill to add two new district judgeships and support staff to the 5th and 9th Judicial districts passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously Thursday.
House Bill 13-1035, sponsored by State Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, would fulfill the Judicial Department's request for two new district judges and staff for the 5th and 9th Judicial districts, both in Hamner's House district. The 9th Judicial District covers Pitkin, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties. It has the second-lowest staffing level, 73 percent of full.
The 5th Judicial District includes Eagle, Summit, Clear Creek and Lake counties. It currently has the lowest district court judge staffing level in Colorado with just less than 70 percent of full staffing, according to Hamner.
"Right now, these district judges have extremely heavy caseloads, and this bill will help ensure every judge has and is able to give the proper time and attention to their cases," Hamner said in a statement. "This bill will make our judicial system more efficient and speed up the process for people going through the court system in those areas."
The 5th Judicial District last received a new district judge in 2005 and since has grown its caseload by 71 percent ,where as the 9th Judicial District last received a new district judge in 2009 and has since increased its caseload by 68 percent, according to Hamner.
The bill has no impact on the General Fund. The additional judges and staff would be funding through fees and fines collected by the Judicial Department, according to Megan Dubray, deputy communications director for the House Democrats.