A nominating committee has named three finalists to serve as district judge in the 6th Judicial District, which includes Archuleta, San Juan and La Plata counties.
The finalists are William Herringer and Todd Norvell of Durango, and Todd Starr of Pagosa Springs.
They were selected Feb. 27 by the 6th Judicial District Nominating Commission. In addition to the three finalists, four others applied, including District Attorney Todd Risberg, La Plata County Magistrate Sarah Law, Durango lawyer Steven Boos and lawyer E. Michelle Sylvain.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has until March 14 to appoint one of the finalists.
The vacancy is being created by District Judge David Dickinson, who retired last month.
Starr, 49, is county attorney for Archuleta County. He also is serving as interim county administrator. If selected, he would be the first non-Durango resident to serve as 6th Judicial District judge, he said.
He grew up in Colorado, was admitted to practice law in 1989 in Nebraska, moved to Cortez in the 1990s, and moved to Archuleta County in 2009.
Starr said he has broad experience in law, including commercial litigation, family law, probate work, representing governmental bodies and some criminal work.
If appointed, Starr said he would draw on his diverse background and try to treat all people equally.
“The role of the judiciary is to adhere to the facts and apply the law, not to create the law,” he said. “I would foster an environment that would promote justice.”
Herringer, 47, has a private practice specializing in criminal defense, divorce and family law.
He was admitted to practice law in 1993 in Colorado. He served as a deputy public defender for five years, mostly in Durango. In addition to criminal defense, he has practiced civil law and criminal law in federal court.
He moved to Durango in January 1994. He was arrested that the same year in Durango for drunken driving. He received a deferred judgement and sentence.
“I made a mistake, and I accepted the responsibility for that mistake,” he said. “It’s not conduct that I condone or approve of. It’s a distant part of my past, but still part of my past.”
Herringer serves on the Durango Nature Studies board of directors and has served on other boards.
“I have a very strong commitment and love for our community,” he said. “Durango and all the counties in the 6th Judicial District are very important to me.”
Herringer described his judicial philosophy like this: “It’s important that judges strive to treat everyone with dignity and work toward getting the right results in all types of cases,” he said.
Norvell, 48, is an assistant U.S. attorney in Durango.
He was first admitted to practice law in 1991 in Texas. He also practiced in New Mexico before moving to Durango in 1997.
He worked as a deputy district attorney for the 6th Judicial District from the late 1990s to 2001. He then became a special agent with the FBI from 2001 to 2003. He returned to the District Attorney’s Office from 2003 to 2007, before becoming a federal prosecutor.
“I believe strongly in the integrity of the judicial system, and that everybody deserves to be treated with fairness and respect, and that judges should follow the law,” he said.
He added: “It’s a great opportunity for public service and to give back to the community and the legal system that I care a great deal about.”