Two area attorneys nominated to replace District Judge Gail Nichols |

Two area attorneys nominated to replace District Judge Gail Nichols

A judicial nominating committee on Monday recommended an assistant Pitkin County attorney and a former prosecutor to replace District Judge Gail Nichols, who will retire this fall.

Gov. John Hickenlooper now has until Sept. 15 to appoint one of the two men to succeed Nichols, Aspen’s main District Court judge.

The nominating committee — headed by Colorado Supreme Court Justice William Hood — met Monday at the Garfield County Courthouse in Glenwood Springs and selected Christopher Seldin of Basalt and Jefferson Cheney of New Castle, according to a statement from Robert McCallum, spokesman for the Colorado Judicial Department.

Seldin, 44, has been an assistant Pitkin County attorney since 2002 and focuses on civil litigation, including land use and real estate law, child welfare and adult protection law, contract law, property tax law and eminent domain. Before working in the Aspen area, Seldin spent two years at a law firm in San Francisco, according to a biography supplied by Hickenlooper’s office.

Seldin, who also worked as a law clerk for former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs from 1999-2000, earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in 1993 and his law degree from the University of California-Berkeley in 1999, according to the biography. He grew up in Durango.

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Cheney served as a prosecutor in the 9th Judicial District — which includes Pitkin, Rio Blanco and Garfield counties — from 2000-2003 and from 2006-2013, according to a biography supplied by Hickenlooper’s office. He is currently an associate at Kerst and Strautman in Glenwood Springs, where he practices estate planning, probate, real estate and property law, oil and gas leasing, landlord-tenant law, contract and business formation and criminal defense.

Cheney also served as a major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the Arabian Peninsula from 2003-2004. He earned his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University in 1993 and his law degree from the University of Arkansas in 1997. Cheney also earned a Master of Laws in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas in 1998.

Cheney did not return a phone message Tuesday seeking comment. Seldin declined to comment.

Others who applied for Nichols’ job include Eric Gross, a partner in a Carbondale law firm, James Leuthauser, a former deputy district attorney in the 9th Judicial District, Charles Willman, a Glenwood Springs attorney, and H. Lawson Wills, a former prosecutor in Aspen and current Aspen defense attorney.

Nichols was appointed by then-Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter in July 2008. She is set to retire Oct. 31. Seldin was also a finalist for the job in 2008.

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