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DA tapped as judge nominee

List of three sent on to governor's office

The 14th Judicial District’s nominating commission named three finalists today to replace Judge Joel Thompson.

District Attorney Paul McLimans of Hot Sulpher Springs, and Steamboat Springs attorneys Gary Engle and J. Richard Tremaine both made the cut, according to the Colorado Judicial Branch.

Gov. Bill Owens will now have 15 days to choose a successor for Thompson, who will leave the bench Jan. 5. The judge, in a letter dated Nov. 6, resigned one day after voters across Moffat, Routt and Grand counties opted not to retain him.

Engle was a finalist earlier this year in the process to replace Judge Richard Doucette, who is retiring.

A seven-person nominating commission met Wednesday in Steamboat Springs to interview 10 candidates for the job, while Colorado Supreme Court Justice Michael Bender presided over the process. He did not have a vote on the finalists.

Craig attorney Sandra Gardner and Deputy District Attorney David Waite also interviewed for Thompson’s seat. Attorneys Ronald Servis of Granby, Sue Ann Fitch of Grand Lake, as well as Ann Carey, Erick Nordstrom and Polly St. James of Steamboat Springs also applied for the position.

Gardner was also a finalist in the earlier search for Doucette’s successor.

Candidates to replace Thompson must have practiced law in Colorado for five years, in addition to being a resident of the 14th Judicial District.

William Lawrence, Robert Aaberg and Jerry Vogelsang — all of Craig — were members of the nominating commission. They were joined by Sue Birch, George Bagwell and Ron Smith of Steamboat Springs, and Rodney McGowan of Granby.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.


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