Bill creates new judgeship for 14th Judicial District

Craig resident Robert Aaberg has spent six years on the 14th Judicial District Nominating Commission, a board tasked with selecting potential replacements for outgoing judges. In his tenure, he's helped replace five judges.

Soon, he'll begin working on what could be his last search for a new jurist, lucky number six.

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"I would hope so," said Aaberg, a retired forester and a Craig resident since 1965. "It's kind of been an unusual set of circumstances (having so many new judges)."

The state court administrator office of Colorado Judicial Branch announced Friday a new district court judgeship would be created for 14th Judicial District, which includes Moffat, Routt and Grand counties. House Bill 07-1054, an approved legislative measure, will create 43 new judge positions in judicial districts across the state during the next three years.

The new judge will serve throughout the judicial district, said Rob McCallum, a spokesman for the court administrator office.

"District judges end up serving that whole area," McCallum said.

The six-member nominating commission, with representatives from Craig, Steamboat Springs, Kremmling and Granby, will meet June 19 to interview and select three nominees for appointment.

Gov. Bill Ritter then has 15 days to make his appointment. The new judge should be in office within four to six weeks of the governor's appointment.

To be eligible for appointment, those applying must be a registered voter in the 14th Judicial District and have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years.

The position pays $118,972 and the new judge will serve a provisional two-year term. If elected by voters after the provisional term, the incumbent judge would serve a six-year term.

Nine new judges will be appointed in nine different judicial districts this year, McCallum said. There are 22 judicial districts in Colorado, but not every one of them will receive new judges, McCallum said.

Aaberg said the Nominating Commission takes seriously the task of forwarding the names of potential new jurists for the governor's consideration.

"I think it's pretty important to have good judges," Aaberg said. "We want to get the best we can that will make decisions that are backed up by the law."

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