The Honorable Gilbert “Gil” Martinez, a sitting senior judge and retired District Court Chief Judge of the 4th Judicial District, has died at the age of 72.
Judge Martinez was on a hunting trip with family near Gunnison when he died on Oct. 31, 2023. After returning to camp following a hunt in deep snow from the weekend storm, Judge Martinez collapsed and was not able to be resuscitated.
“I am saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of Judge Martinez. He was always committed to making sure that our judges were serving the public to the best of their ability,” Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Boatright said. “Everyone who met him instantly liked and respected him. He was a judge’s judge, and an integral part of the community he so proudly served.”
Chief Justice Boatright added that Judge Martinez was so well respected by his peers that he served as the Dean of the New Judge Orientation School for approximately 20 years, and gratefully used the platform to share his immense wisdom with the state’s newest judges. Following his retirement from the District Court in 2017, he was asked to mentor many judges and chief judges throughout the state.
“His contributions to the judiciary are too numerous to count or recall, but his legacy will live on as a tremendous jurist, educator, friend and family man,” Chief Justice Boatright said. “This is a major loss for the judiciary and legal community, but right now, and most importantly, our hearts are with Gil’s beloved family.”
Judge Martinez leaves behind his wife of more than 50 years, Joanie Martinez, two children, seven grandchildren, and a great-grandson.
Judge Martinez was born in Trinidad, graduated from Northglenn High School in 1969, received a civil engineering degree from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1974, and received his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1977. After graduating from law school, Judge Martinez moved to Colorado Springs for a one-year fellowship with Pikes Peak Legal Services. After completing the fellowship, Judge Martinez joined the Office of the Public Defender in Colorado Springs where he served a total of 11 years, five of which were as head of that office.
In 1989, Governor Roy Romer appointed Judge Martinez to the District Court where he served for 28 years, 18 of which were as Chief Judge over two different terms. Judge Martinez stepped down from the District Court and as Chief Judge of the 4th Judicial District in 2017, at which time Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice appointed him as a senior judge.
Details regarding services for Judge Martinez are pending.