Three candidates vie for new judge position

Gov. Hickenlooper has 15 days to appoint one to district court

A local commission has selected three nominees for a new judgeship position in the 6th Judicial District.

The candidates were identified Wednesday as Suzanne Carlson, James Casey and Martha Minot.

Under state law, Gov. John Hickenlooper has 15 days from Wednesday to appoint one of the nominees to the district court position.

The candidates are expected to meet with the governor’s legal council on June 22. The 6th Judicial District includes Archuleta, San Juan and La Plata counties.

Carlson, 44, is a part-time associate judge for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. She also practices family law with Lisa Ward, LLC.

Before becoming a judge, she worked for about 10 years as a Colorado public defender.

She has lived in Durango since 1998, is married to Todd Carlson, and has three children, one who is 7, and two 10-year-olds.

It is important for judges to listen to the litigants, Carlson said.

“I always want to make sure everyone is heard and feels that justice is done,” she said. “You can’t always win, but everyone needs to feel like the judge is listening to them.”

Casey, 55, is a district court magistrate in Archuleta County. He also serves as a municipal judge in Bayfield and is one of two municipal judges in Durango.

Before becoming the district court magistrate in Archuleta County, he worked in private practice for 25 years.

Casey has lived in Durango for 27 years, is married to Barb Casey, and has three children, ages 19, 22 and 25.

“I’m really thankful to my friends and colleagues who supported my candidacy,” he said.

He described his judicial philosophy as a search for truth.

“It’s about trying to get to the point of determining what is fair, what is right,” he said. “That’s our job as we sit there. I want everybody to know they have their day in court.

“Sometimes the law is against you; that’s the way it works,” he added.

Minot has served as La Plata County judge since 1995. Before her appointment, she served as a part-time county court magistrate and was in private practice in Durango.

She participates in numerous volunteer activities. She is active in the local school system in familiarizing students with the court system, including doing mock trials and other learning experiences.

Efforts to reach her Wednesday for comment were unsuccessful.

The 6th Judicial District Nominating Commission had 11 candidates to chose from. In addition to the three who have been nominated, they were Steven Boos, Joel Fry, William Herringer, Dolores Kanski, Benjamin Lammons, Susan “Leigh” Meigs, Todd Norvell and E. Michelle Sylvain.

Comments regarding the nominees can be emailed to the governor at

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