New judge for 9th Judicial District |

New judge for 9th Judicial District

John Colson
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN ” There will be one additional judge trying cases in the 9th Judicial District starting later this year, although it is not known exactly where the new judge will be hanging his or her hat.

State judicial officials are hoping the new judge can be on the bench by July 1. The 9th Judicial District covers Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties, and judges normally practice in one of the three county seats ” Glenwood Springs, Aspen or Meeker.

The district’s nominating commission will meet in early May to begin interviewing nominees, and will send the names of two or three nominees to the governor, perhaps within a day or two. Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter will then have up to two weeks to select one of the nominees for appointment.

The Colorado Legislature gave the nod in 2007 for creation of 43 new judgeships across the state, at the county, district and appeals court levels, said judicial branch spokesman Robert McCallum on Friday.

The move was in recognition of a sharp rise in the number of case filings across the state, and the backlog in the judicial system’s ability to move the cases through the system, McCallum said. He noted that in the 9th Judicial District, court filings have risen by roughly 200 percent in the last three years, and felony filings are up by 500 percent. He did not have statistics showing exactly where in the district the largest increases were.

Last year nine new district court judgeships were created and filled, McCallum said, and this year’s wave of nominations is intended to result in 11 new district court judges, five county judges and three at the appeals court level. By 2010, he said, the state plans to seat 12 more district judges and three more at the county court level.

The new judge in the 9th District will earn a salary of $118,972 per year, and money is expected to be added to the district budget for support staff.

The additional support staff could include a law clerk, a court clerk and an assistant, said McCallum, although those decisions will be up to the district’s Chief Judge James Boyd.

Funding for the new judgeships will come from increases in court fees approved by the legislature in 2006, which McCallum said have raised revenues by approximately $4 million per year.

Application forms for the position are available from 9th District Administrator Solveig Olson at the Rio Blanco Courthouse, 970-878-5622, or on the Internet at

Applications must be filed by April 11. Anyone wishing to suggest a candidate to the nominating commission must do so by 5 p.m., April 4.

To be eligible, an applicant must be a qualified elector in the district, and have a license to practice law in Colorado that is at least five years old. Applications are confidential until the nominating commission picks the names to go to the governor, after which those names are made public.

The members of the district nominating commission are Terry Butler of Aspen, Bob Emerson of Carbondale, Katie Hays, Bill Hodges and John Real of Glenwood Springs, and Diana Watson of Meeker.