Chief Judge Craven dies of apparent heart attack |

Chief Judge Craven dies of apparent heart attack

T. Peter Craven, chief judge of the 9th Judicial District, which includes Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties, passed away Tuesday evening of an apparent heart attack while riding his bicycle.

“Judge Craven was never shy in expressing how privileged he felt to be a judge serving his community,” Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey. “His compassion, leadership and devotion will be missed by all of us.”

Craven was appointed to the district court bench in January, 1991. In 2004 he was appointed chief judge and also served as water judge in Water Division 5. Prior to his judicial appointment, he maintained a distinguished career as a trial lawyer in Glenwood Springs and Denver, served as Glenwood Springs’ city attorney, town attorney for Carbondale and Basalt, and as the 9th Judicial District’s first public defender.

Craven’s contributions to the 9th Judicial District include initiating, creating, and presiding over a drug court for Garfield County. In 2005, he was instrumental in adding Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties to the 9th Judicial District’s drug court program. In an effort to make the court system more understandable for Spanish-speaking litigants and to improve access to the courts for people who speak Spanish, he traveled to Mexico to learn about the Mexican legal system and has studied Spanish. He has also developed differentiated case management principles for mental health cases in Garfield County.

Craven was known for his scholarly, thorough, and patient approach to trying cases, and for his willingness to take on cases for other judges. In 2002 he was selected as the recipient of the Colorado Judicial Institute’s Judicial Excellence Award. The Colorado Judicial Institute annually selects one outstanding individual to recognize with this award.

A law graduate of the University of Michigan, Craven served on the Colorado Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee, Gender Justice Committee, and Probation Advisory Committee. He had also been chair of the bench-bar committees in Garfield and Pitkin counties, and is responsible for a summer intern program.

See tomorrow’s Post Independent for more details.

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