The Judicial Department is accepting applications for vacancies on the citizen-led judicial nominating commissions that recommend state judges and justices to the governor.
Through the end of the year, there will be a total of 32 vacancies in most of the state's 22 judicial districts plus the statewide commission that screens applicants for the Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court. Non-lawyers comprise a majority of each panel.
According to the National Center for State Courts, Colorado is one of 12 states that uses a commission to select judicial finalists, followed by an appointment from the governor and a retention election. Other states, by contrast, elect judges on a partisan or nonpartisan basis, or require legislative confirmation of judges.
Colorado's nominating commission members are volunteers who serve six-year terms. The panels interview applicants and forward two or three finalists to the governor for trial court vacancies, and three finalists for appellate vacancies. The governor selects non-lawyers for the commissions, while the attorney general, chief justice and governor appoint the lawyers.
The judicial districts with vacancies — and the number and type of vacancy — are:
- First Judicial District (Gilpin and Jefferson counties) – one attorney
- Second Judicial District (Denver) – one attorney, one non-attorney
- Third Judicial District (Huerfano and Las Animas counties) – one attorney, one non-attorney
- Fourth Judicial District (El Paso and Teller counties) – two non-attorneys
- Fifth Judicial District (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties) – one attorney, two non-attorneys (one must reside in Clear Creek County)
- Seventh Judicial District (Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties) – three non-attorneys (one must reside in Delta County, one must reside in San Miguel County)
- Eighth Judicial District (Jackson and Larimer counties) – one attorney
- Ninth Judicial District (Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties) – one attorney
- 10th Judicial District (Pueblo County) – one non-attorney
- 11th Judicial District (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, and Park counties) – one non-attorney
- 12th Judicial District (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties) – one non-attorney (must reside in Saguache County)
- 15th Judicial District (Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Prowers counties) – two attorneys
- 16th Judicial District (Bent, Crowley and Otero counties) – one attorney, one non-attorney
- 17th Judicial District (Adams and Broomfield counties) – one non-attorney
- 18th Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties) – one attorney
- 19th Judicial District (Weld County) – two non-attorneys
- 20th Judicial District (Boulder County) – two non-attorneys
- 21st Judicial District (Mesa County) – one attorney, one non-attorney
- 22nd Judicial District (Dolores and Montezuma counties) – one non-attorney
- Supreme Court – one non-attorney for the Fifth Congressional District
Review of applications begins on October 5 and continues until the seats are filled.