Steamboat Springs Fourteenth Judicial District Attorney Paul McLimans has been appointed by Gov. Bill Owens to replace District Judge Joel Thompson.
Thompson will leave the bench Sunday, nine days before his term expires.
The 14th Judicial District covers Routt, Grand and Moffat counties.
McLimans has served 17 years with the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office. He worked several years in a district attorney's office in Wisconsin after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School.
He and his wife, Deb, live in Hot Sulphur Springs.
Owens picked McLimans over Steamboat Springs attorneys Gary Engle and J. Richard Tremaine.
The encouragement of friends, family and colleagues weighed heavily in McLimans' decision to pursue Thompson's seat.
A number of people in law enforcement suggested he consider applying for the vacancy, he said.
McLimans has been a prosecutor for 25 years.
Term limits would have forced his departure from the District Attorney's office in two years.
The time was right, he said, to seek a judgeship with his term as a prosecutor coming to an end.
McLimans values his time spent in the courtroom as a prosecutor but said he looks forward to his transition to the bench.
"I would say that I do have very mixed emotions about this," he said. "I have certainly enjoyed the opportunity to be the district attorney for the past 11 years and it will be difficult for me to leave that position."
McLimans said he holds a great deal of affection for the people in his office who have served so long with him.
As district attorney, he said he acquired many friends and supporters in law enforcement.
"I know that I will certainly continue to have contact with those folks in a different capacity," he said.
While he looks forward to the great challenge of being a judge, he will certainly miss what he is leaving behind, he said.
McLimans received word of his appointment Friday morning after a call from Owens.
The 14th Judicial District Nominating Commission interviewed 10 men and women for Thompson's seat Dec. 18 in Steamboat.
Owens had 15 days to appoint one of its three nominees as judge.
McLimans said Colorado Supreme Court Justice Michael Bender has told him that he anticipated Thompson's replacement would assume the position around March.
McLimans' seat is subject to an appointment by Owens.
McLimans will join recently sworn-in Chief District Judge Michael O'Hara on the bench.
Owens appointed O'Hara in August to replace retired District Judge Richard Doucette.