Ex-resident resigns from court

Kourlis gives resignation as a Colorado Supreme Court justice

Former Craig resident Rebecca Love Kourlis announced her resignation as a Colorado Supreme Court justice on Monday.

Kourlis, who paved the way for legislation that allowed jurors to ask questions during trials, said she would release the details of her decision next month.

"I have had a challenging and extremely rewarding 10 years," she said. "It is now time for me to undertake a new challenge -- one that continues to allow me to contribute to the system of justice."

Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., has mentioned Kourlis as a possible replacement for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But the White House has not approached her, Kourlis said.

Kourlis, 53, served as the chief justice of the 14th Judicial District for eight years before Gov. Roy Romer appointed her to Colorado's top judicial position in 1995.

Kourlis worked as a natural resources attorney in Moffat County before she was appointed to the bench in 1987. She served as a state district judge from 1987 to 1994, including six years as a state Water Court judge. She was an arbiter for the Judicial Arbiter Group from 1994 to 1995.

A 15-member Supreme Court nominating commission will begin the search for Kourlis' replacement. Her resignation is effective Jan. 10.

"Justice Kourlis has done an outstanding job on the Colorado Supreme Court," Attorney Gen--eral John Suthers said. "Not only have her opinions been well-researched and articulated, she has worked tirelessly through court committees to enhance the criminal and civil justice systems of our state."

Kourlis earned her law degree in 1976 from Stanford University.

As a Supreme Court justice, Kourlis led the committee that recommended jury reforms, in--cluding allowing jurors to ask questions and take notes during a trial. Those suggestions were piloted in 2000 and made permanent in 2004.

The Kourlis family still owns property in Moffat County, where they raise sheep and cattle and grow hay.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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