Colorado's judicial branch has named an interim head of the 5th Judicial District following a criminal charge filed against the jurisdiction's top judicial officer Judge Mark Thompson.
A charge of felony menacing was filed against Thompson, 54, on Saturday in Summit County, court records show. But the case is suppressed, making its documents inaccessible by the public.
Records show Thompson was issued a summons.
A person commits felony menacing when they cause someone to fear serious injury by threatening them with a deadly weapon or something that looks like one — or tell the person they have a weapon.
The charge carries one to three years in prison and two years of mandatory parole, according to Colorado's sentencing scheme.
Judge Paul Dunkelman was appointed as interim chief judge, according to a news release Saturday. The release says he will serve as the district's chief for an "indeterminate" period of time while Thompson's case is pending.
“The matter involving Judge Thompson will be properly addressed through the legal system. Judge Thompson has the presumption of innocence, and he is entitled to and deserves due process," said Chief Justice Brian Boatright in the release.
The 5th Judicial District covers Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek Counties. The jurisdiction's judges have recused themselves from the case and Judge Sean Finn from the 17th Judicial District will preside over Thompson's case, and prosecutors in the 1st Judicial District will be assigned to it, says the release.
“I have great confidence in Judge Dunkelman’s ability to lead the Fifth Judicial District during this difficult time,” Boatright said.