Assistant attorney picked as new judge
Colorado’s governor on Wednesday chose Assistant Pitkin County Attorney Chris Seldin to replace Gail Nichols as Aspen’s main District Court judge.
Nichols, who was appointed to the bench in 2008, is set to retire Oct. 31.
Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the appointment late Wednesday afternoon, and said Seldin, a Colorado native, will take over Nov. 1.
“I’m humbled by the trust that the governor, the nominating committee and the community have placed in me,” Seldin said in a brief interview Wednesday night. “I’ll be working as hard as I can to ensure that trust they’ve placed in me is earned.”
Seldin, 44, has worked for the Pitkin County Attorney’s Office since 2002 and handles cases focused on civil litigation, including land use and real estate law, child welfare and adult protection law, contract law, property tax law and eminent domain. He worked at a San Francisco law firm for two years before moving to the Aspen area.
Seldin also served one term on the Basalt Town Council, from 2006-2010, where he pushed hard for tight growth controls and more affordable housing. In an odd twist to his tenure on that board, Seldin actually resigned from his seat in 2008 after he was named, along with Nichols, as a finalist for Aspen District Court judge.
At the time, he said he had moved to Aspen about a month before he was named as a judge finalist in order to establish residency in Pitkin County because his house in Basalt was located in Eagle County. Pitkin County is in the 9th Judicial District, along with Garfield and Rio Blanco counties, but Eagle is not.
When Nichols got the job, Seldin moved back to Basalt and was reappointed to his town councilman seat. He was off the board for 46 days.
On Wednesday, Seldin said he’s lived in Aspen for quite awhile for reasons other than establishing residency in the 9th Judicial District.
Seldin grew up in Durango and earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in 1993. He received a law degree from the University of California-Berkeley in 1999, and clerked for former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs from 1999-2000.
Hickenlooper chose Seldin over Glenwood Springs attorney Jefferson Cheney, who was also nominated as a finalist by a nominating committee.
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Tucked into an overgrowth of sage south of Sopris Elementary School along Airport Road, two dilapidated, concrete walls raise new questions about the Cardiff town site.