(La Junta, CO) -- Candidates are awaiting a chance to interview for the seat that the Honorable Judge Michael Schiferl will soon vacate. Judge Schiferl has held the seat in district court for the 16th Judicial district of Colorado since 2002. According to Ballotpedia.com he was appointed in April of 2002 and was retained in the elections of 2004, 2010 and 2016.
Judge Schiferl is now retiring so there will be an open seat for a judge in the 16th Judicial district.
How a candidate is considered for the job is a long process and begins with interested parties submitting their intent and materials to a nominating commission. According to the state's court website, https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Supreme_Court/Nominating.cfm, the group consists of seven people. Here is the exact verbiage from that website explaining it:
Each judicial district nominating commission consists of seven citizens residing in that judicial district. No more than four members can be from the same political party, and there must be at least one voting member from each county in the district. In all districts with populations of more than 35,000, the voting members consist of three people admitted to practice law in Colorado and four people not admitted to practice law in Colorado. In judicial districts with populations under 35,000, at least four voting members are people not admitted to practice law in Colorado. It is determined by majority vote of the governor, attorney general and chief justice how many, if any, of the remaining three members will be persons admitted to practice law in Colorado.
The commission considers many factors when combing through the applicants to select who will go forward. The Rules of Procedure for Sixteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission were adopted in 1979 and amended in 1993. They state the following is to be considered when selecting a candidate.
1. The applicant's integrity and moral courage.
2. The applicant's legal ability and experience.
3. The applicant's intelligence and wisdom.
4. Will the applicant be deliberate and fair minded in reaching decisions?
5. Will the applicant be industrious and prompt in performing the duties of a judge?
6. Are the applicant's personal habits and outside activities compatible with judicial office?
7. Will the applicant be courteous and considerate on the bench?
Everything discussed in the commission meetings, including records is private and cannot be discussed outside of the commission meeting or only among commission members. After all of this happens, the top names will go to Governor Jared Polis, if there's a preference for one candidate over another, they will express it then.
There's rumor the community will recognize a name or two in the group. We will follow up with this as soon as information is available for release.
The judge in Otero district court presides over criminal and civil cases and cases involving juveniles. Currently, the honorable Mark MacDonnell is the district judge for division A. The person selected for Judge Schiferl's seat will be in division B.