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  • 09/06/2023 4:50 PM | Britt Kwan (Administrator)

    The Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet Nov. 6, 2023, at the El Paso County Courthouse (270 S. Tejon. Street, Colorado Spring, CO, 80903) to interview and select nominees for appointment by the governor to the office of district judge for the Fourth Judicial District (El Paso and Teller counties). The vacancy will be created by the retirement of the Honorable Thomas Kane. The vacancy will occur on Jan. 1, 2024.

    To be eligible, the applicant must be a qualified elector of the Fourth Judicial District at the time of investiture and must have been admitted to the practice of law in Colorado for five years. The current annual salary for this position is $193,008. The initial term of office of a district judge is a provisional term of two years; thereafter, the incumbent district judge, if approved by the voters, has a term of six years.

    Application forms are available from the office of the ex officio chair of the nominating commission, Justice Monica M. Márquez, 2 E. 14th Ave., Denver, CO 80203; and the office of the deputy court executive, Bridget Collins, 719-452-5000. Applications also are available on the court’s home page at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Careers/Judge.cfm

    The completed application must be e-mailed to the address listed in the instructions below no later than 4 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2023. Late applications will not be considered. Any person wishing to suggest a candidate to fill the vacancy may do so by letter to be submitted to any member of the nominating commission, with a copy to the ex officio chair, no later than 4 p.m. on Sept 22, 2023.

    The members of the nominating commission for the 4th Judicial District are: Kathleen Cefus of Divide; Michael Allen of Monument; Stella Hodgkins, Lisa Dailey, C. Onye Ikwaukor, Roland Rainey, and Misty Plowright of Colorado Springs.

    Editor’s Note:  Contact information for the nominating commission members: 

  • 09/06/2023 2:04 PM | Britt Kwan (Administrator)

    The Supreme Court Nominating Commission invites qualified attorneys to apply for two Colorado Court of Appeals vacancies created by the retirements of the Hon. John Daniel Dailey and the Hon. David Furman. Both vacancies will occur on Jan. 1, 2024. The Commission will meet on Oct. 24-25, 2023, to select applicants to interview, to conduct interviews, and to select nominees for appointment by the governor.

    To be eligible for appointment to fill a vacancy, the applicant must be a qualified elector of the State of Colorado and must have been admitted to the practice of law in Colorado for five years. The annual salary for a court of appeals judge is currently $201,312. The initial term of office of a Court of Appeals judge is a provisional term of two years. Thereafter, the incumbent judge, if retained by the voters, has a term of eight years.

    Application forms are available from the office of the ex-officio chair of the Nominating Commission, Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright, 2 E. 14th Ave., Denver, CO 80203; and the office of the court executive of any of the 22 judicial districts. Applications are also available at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Careers/Judge.cfm.

    The completed application must be e-mailed to the address listed in the instructions below no later than 4 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2023. Late applications will not be considered. Any person wishing to suggest a candidate to fill the vacancy may do so by letter to be submitted to any member of the nominating commission, with a copy to the ex-officio chair, no later than 4 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2023.  

    The members of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission are: Katina Banks and Ageno Otii of Denver; Peter Gould of Boulder; Lisa Kaufmann of Lyons; Linda Garcia of Pueblo; J. Martelle Daniels of Grand Junction; Deborah Suniga of Greeley; Stanton Dodge of Castle Rock; Paul Wiggins of Peyton; John Suthers of Colorado Springs; Marco Chayet of Centennial; C. Omar Montgomery of Aurora; Heather Lipp and Danielle Radovich Piper, both of Golden; Edwin Perlmutter of Arvada; Kevin Mullin of Greeley; and Jerome DeHerrera of Westminster.

    Editor’s Note: Contact information for the nominating commission members:

  • 08/31/2023 9:25 AM | Britt Kwan (Administrator)

    Colorado’s 4th Judicial District (El Paso and Teller counties) will soon launch an eviction diversion program in the El Paso County Court with a grant from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). 

    The program is designed to provide landlords and tenants with a dispute-resolution process other than court-filed eviction and to help tenants find housing post-eviction when court action is warranted. The program will refer evicted tenants to appropriate community resources to help them avoid future evictions, and will include an effort to keep evicted children in their home schools. 

    The $309,357 grant will fund two positions to execute the program and help the 4thJudicial District form partnerships with legal, financial, and social-service providers to offer alternative solutions to housing problems and promote housing and financial stability.

    “Courts have evolved in recent years from being arbiters of one-time disputes to instead being a forum for long-term problem solving and change-of-life solutions. We have had excellent results with problem-solving courts such as Veterans Trauma Court and Domestic Violence Court. Evictions should be no different. The Court is in a position to connect people with meaningful help,” said Magistrate Andrea Paprzycki, who conceived and will manage the program. “It presents a bottom-up solution to the housing crisis by creating a wide net of helping hands that can help prevent evictions in the first place and restore evicted people to a position of stability.”

    Magistrate Paprzycki, whose division is responsible for all eviction cases in El Paso County – which represents 15 percent of all Colorado eviction cases – said 22 community partners representing a wide variety of services have committed to working with the court on the program, and the court intends to pursue additional partners. 

    The NCSC Eviction Diversion Initiative obtained a grant in 2021 to strengthen eviction diversion efforts in state courts and improve housing stability. During the past year, the initiative enabled courts in Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia to hire dedicated staff and create eviction diversion programs to connect landlords and tenants with resources that can prevent or mitigate the harm of eviction. 

    The 4th Judicial District is one of 10 jurisdictions nationwide awarded a total of more than $2 million in 2023 to create eviction-diversion programs. For more information on the NCSC grant program, visit https://www.ncsc.org/evictiondiversion.

  • 06/21/2023 1:07 PM | Britt Kwan (Administrator)

    Following the May enactment of Chief Justice Directive (CJD) 23-02, which provides Colorado’s trial courts with uniform guidance for livestreaming criminal proceedings, Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright today signed CJD 23-03, Virtual Proceedings Policy, to increase access to Colorado’s trial courts through the continued use of virtual proceedings and remote participation.

    The CJD provides Colorado trial court judges with a framework for understanding which proceedings shall be conducted in-person and which ones may allow for virtual appearances. The CJD also preserves the authority of the judicial officer to determine on a case-by-case basis when good cause exists to depart from the directive’s guidance and allow for more flexibility. 

    “The adoption of this policy solidifies a dramatic shift in the manner in which courts have conducted business for hundreds of years by authorizing the use of virtual proceedings which benefit the majority of those involved in court proceedings,” Chief Justice Boatright said. “I am confident this CJD provides the necessary and timely guidance to judicial officers to allow for the continuation of virtual proceedings. I believe it increases statewide consistency in operations, while allowing the judicial districts and trial court judicial officers to maintain discretion over decorum in their courtrooms.”  

    The pandemic caused Colorado’s courts to pivot quickly operationally, leading to the adoption of virtual appearances and live-streamed proceedings. The Judicial Department’s ability to respond quickly to the pandemic rested in the fact that each of the 22 Judicial Districts’ Chief Judges have the authority to adopt local operational policies. With their inherent authority, Chief Judges may also adopt local polices to address the continued use of virtual proceedings in their jurisdictions as resources, needs and demands dictate.  

    The Chief Justice lauded the members of the Virtual Proceedings Committee for their careful consideration of the matter in light of every case type and the perspectives offered by interested third-parties and members of the public.

    “I would like to thank the Virtual Proceedings Committee for navigating these uncharted waters in an incredibly short amount of time in such a comprehensive and thoughtful manner,” Chief Justice Boatright added. “We heard from more than one hundred people when we published the initial draft of the CJD, and most favored the continued use of virtual appearances. Technology such as live streaming allowing for virtual appearances will continue to evolve, and we must evolve with it. I believe this directive strikes the right balance at this time.”

    Chief Justice Directive 23-03, Virtual Proceedings Policy, is effective Aug. 1, 2023, and may be viewed here.

    Chief Justice Directive 23-02, Live Streaming Coverage of Criminal Court Proceedings in the Trial Courts, is already effective, and may be viewed here.

  • 05/25/2023 10:09 AM | Britt Kwan (Administrator)

    Former Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph “Joe” R. Quinn died on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at the age of 90. His family shared with the Court that Justice Quinn died peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones. 

    Justice Quinn was appointed to the Court in 1980 and was named chief justice by his colleagues on the Court in 1985. He served as chief justice until his retirement in 1993, although he continued to serve the judiciary as a senior judge into his 80s. Prior to his appointment to the Colorado Supreme Court, Justice Quinn served as a district court judge in Denver beginning in 1973.

    Justice Quinn will be remembered fondly by those he touched in Colorado’s legal community. Justice Carlos A. Samour, Jr., recalled meeting Justice Quinn when he was a senior trial court judge and Justice Samour was a young deputy district attorney trying one of his first cases. 

    “He expected nothing less from the attorneys appearing in front of him than he did of himself. He prepared extensively for every case, whether it was a county court DUI case or a district court felony murder trial,” Justice Samour said. “Those of us who appeared in front of him learned tremendously from his thoughtful preparation, deliberation, and dedication to the rule of law. In my opinion, those of us who had the opportunity to learn from him and strive to achieve his standard of professionalism are better attorneys and judicial officers for it. For that we should all truly be thankful. He was a great jurist and a wonderful human being. May he rest in peace.”

    Justice Samour added that he and Justice Quinn kept in touch over the years and would often get together when Justice Samour was the Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial District and Justice Quinn was on assignment as a senior judge in Arapahoe County.  

    At the age of 18, Justice Quinn enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and fought bravely in the Korean war. After achieving the rank of sergeant and earning an honorable discharge from the Corps, he earned his B.A. at St. Peter’s College and graduated with honors in 1957. He then entered Rutgers Law School and received an LL.B. degree in 1961. 

    Moving west, Justice Quinn began his professional career in Denver in 1961 as legal aide to Chief Justice Leonard V.B. Sutton. He spent four years in private practice before being named one of the first appointees to the Office of the Denver Public Defender in 1966, and then to the Office of the Colorado Public Defender in 1969.  In 1971, he resigned his position to return to private practice, concentrating on criminal defense work.  He was an instructor at the University of Denver College of Law from 1976 to 1982 and was a member of the American and Colorado bar associations.

    A funeral mass will be held for Justice Quinn on June 9, 2023, at 1 p.m. at the Gardens at St. Elizabeth, 2835 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, CO 80211.

  • 04/12/2023 7:43 PM | Britt Kwan (Administrator)

    Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright on Wednesday signed Chief Justice Directive (CJD) 23-02, requiring judicial officers to livestream certain proceedings in criminal cases subject to staffing and technological limitations.

    After receiving more than 100 public comments on a draft version of the CJD, the Supreme Court’s Virtual Proceedings Committee adopted some clarifying revisions. The CJD seeks to balance consistent transparency in criminal proceedings with a trial court’s discretion to determine when the public’s interest in observing proceedings remotely is outweighed by the interests of the parties and witnesses. The CJD will go into effect on May 15, 2023.

    “We’ve heard loud and clear that throughout the pandemic, the public has come to appreciate and expect the ability to remotely observe proceedings in criminal cases,” Chief Justice Boatright said. “This CJD will create as much consistency as we believe possible while allowing judicial officers enough flexibility to decide when circumstances in a specific case, or even in a specific hearing, do not favor live streaming.”

    Under the CJD, proceedings would be live streamed only if a courtroom’s staffing and technological capabilities can accommodate it. Disruptive viewers could be expelled or muted by the court without warning and be subject to contempt proceedings; and audio or video recording, screen shots, or photos of any livestreamed court proceedings is prohibited without express permission from the court, also subject to contempt proceedings.

    The Virtual Proceedings Committee will continue to meet regularly and recommend any modifications of the CJD while continuing its work on a related draft CJD regarding remote participation in court proceedings.

  • 03/28/2023 12:31 PM | Britt Kwan (Administrator)

    The Colorado Supreme Court has approved the licensure of legal paraprofessionals in a new rule that is designed to make legal representation more widely available and more affordable to people in certain domestic-relations matters. 

    With approval of the new Rule 207 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, the state becomes one of five that will issue some form of limited license for non-lawyers to practice law. As of September 2022, the other four states are Arizona, Minnesota, Oregon, and Utah; Washington and California both developed limited-license programs, but neither is actively licensing non-lawyers, according to the American Bar Association.

    Under the rule, licensed legal paraprofessionals (LLPs) may complete and file standard pleadings, and represent their clients in mediation. They also may accompany their clients to court and answer a court’s factual questions, though they may not present oral argument or examine witnesses in a hearing.

    In Fiscal Year 2022, 74 percent of parties involved in Colorado domestic-relations cases such as marriage dissolution and allocation of parental responsibility represented themselves.

    “Making it easier for people to secure legal representation in these often difficult matters has been a long-term goal of our commitment to ensuring access to justice for all Coloradans,” said Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright. “Allowing non-lawyers to provide limited legal representation for people who otherwise couldn’t afford it will not only help those litigants, but it will help the courts efficiently and effectively handle their cases.”

    LLPs will have to pass a written examination to be administered by the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and will be subject to character and fitness standards similar to those required of licensed attorneys. 

    By the time an applicant takes the LLP examination, the applicant must meet certain educational requirements and have completed 1,500 hours of substantive law-related practical experience, including 500 hours of experience in Colorado family law, within the three years immediately preceding the date of the examination. The Court approved an exception to the educational requirements for individuals who have worked for three years in family law.

    Applicants also will have to pass an ethics class, pass a professional conduct exam, and complete continuing legal education requirements, and they will be subject to a complaint and discipline process similar to that of licensed attorneys.

    The Colorado Supreme Court in 2021 charged the Advisory Committee on the Practice of Law with developing a plan to license legal paraprofessionals. A subcommittee made up of current and former judges, family law lawyers, an experienced family law paralegal/mediator, a family court facilitator, the Attorney Regulation Counsel, and the Chair of the Advisory Committee developed the rule, which was subject to public comment before the Supreme Court approved the final version. The first LLPs could receive their licenses in July 2024.

    Rule 207 is available for viewing at https://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/Rule_Changes/2023/Rule%20Change%202023(06).pdf.

  • 03/01/2023 10:55 AM | Britt Kwan (Administrator)

    Recent public health concerns caused Colorado’s trial courts to quickly change the way they had conducted business for more than a century prior. Public health policies and the courts’ concerns for public safety effectively put the brakes on in-person hearings. However, laws guaranteeing timely hearings did not pause, and the courts turned to virtual appearances and live streaming to continue operations during this time. 

    Today, public health concerns aside, the effectiveness and efficiency of having litigants appear for certain hearings virtually, as well as the value of allowing streaming of virtual proceedings in the interest of openness and transparency for the public cannot be denied. As such, the Colorado Supreme Court intends to codify how virtual proceedings will be used through uniform guidance offered by Chief Justice Directives (CJDs).      

    “It is a forgone conclusion that virtual proceedings are here to stay, and they provide a tremendous benefit in many respects,” Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Boatright said. “Before the Court takes any action regarding this valuable public resource, we feel it is critically important to hear from all stakeholders who have now had nearly three years to adapt to this new environment and technology.”

    Chief Justice Boatright added that any CJD issued by the Court defining how virtual participation and livestreaming may be used will ensure that judges retain discretion over the proceedings. 

     “We look forward to everyone’s thoughts on this aspect of a possible CJD, as well as everything else in consideration of this historic opportunity to modernize the way we do business and provide a new level of transparency to our courts,” Chief Justice Boatright said. 

    The draft CJDs are posted to the “Special Announcements” section of the Court’s homepage. The public comment period will close on March 15, 2023. Comments may be sent to supremecourtrules@judicial.state.co.us.

  • 02/07/2023 3:38 PM | Britt Kwan (Administrator)

    Eight participants in the 4th Judicial District (El Paso and Teller counties) Recovery Court, an intensive oversight and monitoring program for eligible offenders with substance use disorders, will celebrate their graduation from the program during a ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.

    Recovery Court is a voluntary program allowing for a cost-effective alternative to incarceration that helps reduce recidivism while protecting community safety. It requires defendants to complete at least two years of substance use disorder treatment, maintain sobriety, comply with community service and employment requirements, make frequent court appearances, and pay fines and costs. 

    “The goal of Recovery Court is to provide extensive substance use disorder treatment and wrap-around services that are needed to overcome participants’ addiction so that they can be productive members of the community,” said Magistrate Gregory Duncan, who presides over the 4th Judicial District Recovery Court. “Recovery Court has proved to be an innovative, cost effective program to assist substance-abusing individuals in making life-changing differences for themselves, their families, and the community. We are proud to be able to honor these graduates’ achievement in reclaiming their lives.”

    The El Paso/Teller Counties Recovery Court was initiated in January 2001 as the second problem-solving drug court in Colorado. It follows an evidence-based model for problem-solving courts, which has proved effective in handling criminal cases of substance abusers with a heavy focus on treatment, close probation supervision, and regular drug testing.

    Defendants are referred to the program by the public defender’s office, private attorneys, deputy district attorneys, probation officers and judges who believe the program is appropriate for and would be beneficial to the defendant.

    Nearly 70 problem-solving courts are in operation around Colorado, including 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.

    The graduation ceremony is set for 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 9, in the Jury Assembly Room at the Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex at 270 S. Tejon Street in Colorado Springs. Members of the news media are invited to attend. The use of cameras must be approved in advance, and all persons whose images are captured must give their consent to photography or videography.

    Read the full announcement here.

  • 02/07/2023 3:36 PM | Britt Kwan (Administrator)

    The Colorado State Court Administrator’s Office has opened a 30-day public comment period for proposed changes to Chief Justice Directive 04-08, which sets the Colorado Judicial Department’s policy regarding child and family investigators (CFIs).

    CFIs are appointed by a court to investigate, report and make independent and informed recommendations to the court regarding the best interests of the children in cases involving parental responsibilities including parenting time and decision making.

    In February 2022, Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright formed a work group of judges, court executives and administrative staff to review CJD 04-08 and make recommendations for changes. The last comprehensive review of CJD 04-08 was conducted in 2012. The work group is proposing amendments in several areas:

    • Changing the complaint process to mirror the requirements regarding complaints against parental responsibility evaluators as detailed in CJD 21-02. The new process would require findings in the trial court before a formal complaint can be filed. The work group believes this new procedure will make the complaint process less subjective.
    • Increasing the payment cap for privately paid CFIs;
    • Providing clarification for mixed pay cases; and
    • Modifying several of the standards guiding CFIs and their conduct.

    Read the full announcement here.

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