Southwest Colorado gets a new judge

Gov. names Suzanne Carlson to district post

Gov. John Hickenlooper has appointed Durango resident Suzanne Carlson to serve as a district court judge in the 6th Judicial District. The district includes La Plata, Archuleta and San Juan counties.

The governor’s decision was posted Friday in a release on his website.

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

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, a 7-year-old and two 10-year-olds.

Carlson was one of three finalists recommended to Hickenlooper by the 6th Judicial District Nominating Commission last month out of an initial pool of 11 candidates.

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

Funding for the new position is available because of a previous year’s bill that added judges in Jefferson County. The county west of Denver never used its full allocation of judges, so Rep. J. Paul Brown, R-Ignacio, and Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, sponsored a bill to create a position in the 6th Judicial District. It had the backing of Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Bender.

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