Applicants for judge's seat throw hats in the ring

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— A Steamboat Springs man and a Craig woman nominated this summer to fill retiring 14th Judicial District Judge Richard Doucette's post are seeking the latest vacancy in the district court.

Gary Engle and Sandra Gardner are two of the 10 people who have applied for outgoing District Judge Joel Thompson's seat.

The other applicants include 14th Judicial District Attorney Paul McLimans of Hot Sulphur Springs, Chief Deputy District Attorney David Waite of Craig, Ronald Servis of Granby, Sue Ann Fitch of Grand Lake and Ann Carey, Erick Nordstrom, Polly St. James and J. Richard Tremaine of Steamboat Springs.

The deadline for applying for Thompson's seat ended Wednesday.

All the candidates have practiced law in Colorado for at least five years and live within the 14th Judicial District, which comprises Routt, Moffat and Grand counties.

Applications for Thompson's seat were filed with Supreme Court Justice Michael Bender, who will oversee the 14th Judicial Nominating Commission. The commission meets Dec. 18 to consider candidates for the district court vacancy. Its nominees are announced Dec. 19.

The commission can nominate two or three candidates to send to Gov. Bill Owens, who then appoints Thompson's replacement.

Owens has 15 days to name his appointee.

The commission nominated Engle, Gardner and Michael O'Hara in August for Owens' consideration. Owens appointed O'Hara to Doucette's seat.

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 judicial nominating commission's rules of procedure require that applicants' names be released when the application period closes.

Public input is invited now that the application period has passed.

People can direct their comments to any member of the judicial nominating commission. Seven people represent Routt, Moffat and Grand counties on the commission. They are Sue Birch, George Bagwell and Ron Smith of Steamboat Springs, Robert Aaberg, Jerry Vogelsang and William Lawrence of Craig and Rodney McGowan of Granby.

A copy of any comments should be sent to Bender at 2 East 14th Ave., Denver, Colo. 80203, no later than Monday.

Bender does not vote on the candidates, but he oversees the selection process.

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