Steamboat Springs Michael "Mick" O'Hara has been appointed by Gov. Bill Owens to replace retiring 14th Judicial District Judge Richard Doucette.
The appointment is effective Dec. 31, 2002. The 14th Judicial District covers Routt, Grand and Moffat counties.
Owens said O'Hara's widespread experience with legal affairs has prepared him to serve as a district judge.
"He will be of great service to the citizens of Moffat, Routt and Grand counties in this position," Owens said.
O"Hara has been a partner in the law office of Oliphant, Hammond, O'Hara and Atwell, LLC since moving to Steamboat Springs in 1991.
He practiced law for several years in California after graduating from the University of San Diego Law School in 1984.
O'Hara said earlier that he was encouraged by many people to pursue the retiring district judge's position.
"I am honored by the appointment," he said Tuesday. "I do look forward to serving the people of Routt, Grand and Moffat County."
This week he is attending a judicial conference in Denver.
Most of his career has been spent in litigation.
O'Hara values the time he has worked as an attorney in the courtroom, but said he looks forward to his transition to the bench.
"While it may be difficult to walk away from that, it will be exciting to take on the next challenge," he said.
O'Hara received word of his appointment last Thursday.
He was one of three people nominated earlier this month by the 14th Judicial District Nominating Commission to fill Doucette's position. The other nominees included Gary Scott Engle of Steamboat Springs and Sandra Henrietta Gardner of Craig.
Under the Colorado Constitution, Owens had 15 days to appoint one of the three nominees as judge.
The governor's staff interviewed the three finalists before recommending one nominee to Owens, Routt County Court Administrator Evan Herman said.
The 14th Judicial District Nominating Commission is a seven-member body comprised of representatives from Steamboat Springs, Craig and Granby.
Attorney Ron Smith was one of three lawyers who sat on the commission.
While Smith said he could not speak on behalf of the commission, he personally felt O'Hara demonstrated qualities, such as excellent demeanor and temperament, intelligence and knowledge of the law, that would make him an excellent judge.
"He will treat the citizens of this judicial district with the respect and dignity that they deserve," Smith said.
O'Hara and his wife, Julie, and their two sons, Keegan, 17, and Mickey, 15, live in Steamboat Springs.