Candidates for 14th Judicial District seat announced today

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— The names of people who applied for District Judge Joel S. Thompson's seat will be released today.

Thompson submitted his resignation Nov. 6 to the Colorado Supreme Court after voters in the 14th Judicial District did not return him to office.

He will leave the bench Jan. 5, nine days before his term expires.

The deadline for applying for Thompson's seat ended at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Only people who live within the 14th Judicial District and have practiced law in Colorado for at least five years are eligible candidates.

The district's judicial nominating commission selects two or three candidates to send to Gov. Bill Owens, who then appoints Thompson's replacement.

Owens has 15 days to name his appointee.

Newly appointed district court judges serve two years before voters decide to keep them on the bench another six years or oust them from office.

The applications for Thompson's seat were filed with Supreme Court Justice Michael Bender, who will oversee the judicial nominating commission.

The commission members have several days to look over the applications before they interview candidates Dec. 18.

The commission's nominees will be announced the following day.

Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis earlier this summer presided over the nominating commission that selected three candidates to fill retiring District Judge Richard P. Doucette's position.

Seven residents from Routt, Moffat and Grand counties sit on the commission.

Bender cannot vote on the candidates, but he can answer commission members' questions about the process of selecting candidates for the position.

Some people on the commission do not have legal backgrounds, so Bender provides the legal guidance they might need, Routt County Court Administrator Evan Herman said.

"The Supreme Court justice is there to make sure the process happens the way it's supposed to happen," Herman said. "He's (Bender) there to guide the process. He's not there to influence the process."

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