Steamboat Springs Two women have been nominated by a commission to serve as a third judge in the 14th Judicial District.
Steamboat Springs attorney Tammy Jenson and Grand County Judge Mary C. Hoak have been nominated by a commission of six of their peers and Colorado Supreme Court Justice Alex Martinez, ex-officio chairman of the commission, for appointment.
Jenson's and Hoak's names were sent to Gov. Bill Ritter for appointment Wednesday. The 14th Judicial Nominating Commission met in Steamboat Springs on Tuesday with four candidates who applied for the position.
Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James and Grand County attorney Steven A. Gall were the other applicants.
Ritter now has 15 days to choose who will be appointed to the judgeship, a position that was created when Ritter passed House Bill 1054. The new bill, which went into effect July 1, will put 43 new judges in place across the state. The new judge would serve Routt, Moffat and Grand counties. Whoever is appointed to the position will join Chief Judge Michael O'Hara and District Judge Shelley Hill. Hill was appointed to the position last year after former District Judge Paul McLimans retired.
Hoak said she is glad House Bill 1054 passed because the 14th Judicial District is among the first to receive an additional position.
"It's so needed," she said from Hot Sulphur Springs on Wednesday. "It's an exciting prospect to have another person to take on some of the caseload that (O'Hara and Hill) currently handle so diligently."
Along with Hill, Hoak was recommend to take McLimans' seat last year. Jenson applied for the position last year, but was not recommend by the committee.
"I'm back," Hoak said. "It's such an honor to be nominated once again. It's exciting news."
Jenson, who has been a public defender, deputy district attorney and is working as a private attorney, said she also is honored to have been nominated.
"Being a judge has been a lifelong goal of mine," she said. "I believe very strongly in justice and people being treated with dignity and respect."
Jenson said Tuesday's interviews were "slightly intimidating," but said she thinks her diverse career and ethnic background would make her a good judge.
"I think it'd be good for the bench to have the cultural and legal diversity I can offer," she said.
Jenson said she also thinks Hoak would be a good fit for the position.
"I think she's a great county court judge, and I think she'd be a great district court judge," she said. "Regardless of the outcome, I'm just happy and completely honored for the nomination."
Steamboat Springs attorney Ron Smith, who serves on the nominating commission, said he could not discuss the interview process due to confidentiality.
Rob McCallum, a spokesman for the Colorado Judicial Branch, said the nominating commission could have sent three names to Ritter.
"It's really at the discretion of the nominating commission which candidates it felt was most qualified for the position," he said. "Three is the maximum number of names that can be sent, but that's not required."
Public comment regarding Jenson or Hoak may be sent by e-mail to Ritter at firstname.lastname@example.org.