Craven successor could be named in August | PostIndependent.com

Craven successor could be named in August

Bobby MagillPost Independent Staff

The successor to late 9th Judicial District Chief Judge T. Peter Craven could be named by the first week in August. Monday was the application deadline for the district judge’s chair vacant since June following Craven’s death. Judge Tom Ossola is filling in until a new judge is named. After Craven died, a nominating commission was formed to select nominees for appointment to the position. The commission will meet July 17 to interview applicants and could name a pool of three finalists on July 18, said Karen Salaz, public information officer for the Colorado Judicial Department. The process could take longer if the commission decides to conduct a second round of interviews after July 17, Salaz said. The number of applicants the Judicial Department received for the position is confidential, she said, but she added that most court vacancies garner between 12 and 24 applicants. Once the finalists are named, Gov. Bill Owens has 15 days to appoint Craven’s successor. The date the new judge will begin work depends on how much time he or she needs to tie up professional loose ends. “We really give nominees some flexibility in letting them finish their business,” Salaz said. Despite that the governor must choose the next district judge, Salaz said there is no political litmus test for the position before the names reach Owens’ desk. Though the nominating commission is politically balanced and Owens is a Republican, she said, there’s no guarantee he will pick a Republican because the commission could nominate three Democrats for Owens to choose from. After Owens makes his appointment, Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey will choose which of the three district judges will become chief judge and water court judge. The nominating commission is composed of seven lawyers and residents from Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties, including Terry Butler of Aspen, Lorrie B. Winnerman of Aspen, William V. Hodges III of Aspen, Thomas D. Silverman of Glenwood Springs, Dick Stephenson of Carbondale, Robert B. Emerson of Carbondale and Diana Watson of Meeker. Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. 520bmagill@postindependent.com


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