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New judge chosen for La Plata County Court

Anthony Baca (Courtesy of The Journal)
Governor appoints Anthony Baca to fill the vacancy on the 6th Judicial District bench left by the departure of Anne Woods

Gov. Jared Polis appointed Anthony Baca on Tuesday to fill the vacancy left by Anne Woods on the La Plata County Court in the 6th Judicial District.

Baca, a Dolores County Court Judge in the 22nd Judicial District (Dolores and Montezuma Counties) since 2020, will step into his new role immediately.

Baca was chosen from three nominees sent to the governor by the 6th Judicial Nominating Commission on Dec. 9. The two other nominees were Anthony Edwards of Silverton and R. Reid Stewart of Hesperus.

In addition to his position as county court judge, Baca has been a District Court Magistrate in the 22nd Judicial District since 2021. His dockets consisted primarily of criminal matters.

22nd Judicial District announces Dolores County Court vacancy

The 22nd Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet at the Dolores County Combined Court on Jan. 23 to interview and select nominees for appointment by Gov. Jared Polis to become county judge for Dolores County.

The vacancy was created after Polis appointed Dolores County Judge Anthony Baca to La Plata County Court in the 6th Judicial District on Dec. 27. Baca replaces Anne Woods.

The applicant must be a qualified elector of Dolores County at the time of investiture and have graduated high school or attained the equivalent of a high school education, based upon the record made on the General Education Development test. The annual salary for the position is $35,181, and it is a 20% position. The initial term of office of a county judge is a provisional term of two years, then four years if approved by voters.

Application forms are available from the office the chairwoman of the nominating commission, Justice Monica M. Márquez, 2 E. 14th Ave., Denver, CO 80203; and the office of the court executive, Eric Hogue, 409 N. Main St., Dove Creek, CO 81324. Applications also are available on the court’s home page at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Careers/Judge.cfm.

The completed application must be emailed to the address listed in the instructions below no later than 4 p.m. on Jan. 10. Late applications will not be considered. Any person wishing to suggest a candidate to fill the vacancy may do so by letter to any member of the nominating commission, with a copy to the ex officio chair, no later than 4 p.m. on Jan. 6.

The members of the nominating commission for the 22nd Judicial District are Bryson McCabe of Dolores; Erin Johnson of Rico; Darwin Whiteman of Towaoc; Peter Ortego and MB McAfee, both of Lewis; and Tazewell Vass and Clarisa Feuilly, both of Cortez.

The Journal

Baca owns Baca Consulting (2015-2022). He managed the Institute of Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver (2017-2018). He was an attorney at the Office of the Municipal Defender in Denver (2016); attorney at Mountain Legal LLC (2011-2016); and assistant to the public defender at the New Mexico Public Defenders (2010-2011). He earned his B.A. from Northwestern University in 2003 and his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 2009.

The annual salary for the position is $175,908. Baca will serve an initial term of two years and then stand for retention at the next general election. He fills the position vacated by Woods, who lost her retention vote Nov. 9 and then resigned Nov. 10.

In the 2022 evaluation of his work on the 22nd Judicial District, the Commission on Judicial Performance found Baca met performance standards by a vote of 7-0.

Baca’s focus and commitment to a rural Colorado county is evidence of his integrity, the commission wrote in its evaluation. Commission members said they were impressed with his ability to focus and prepare for each case to meet his stated goal of improving access to the justice system. The commission reviewed legal decisions submitted by Baca and found them to be “thoughtful, well-reasoned and clearly written.” They also noted that he was prepared and took the time to communicate to court participants. Baca “treats challenging court participants with respect and works to keep them informed and on topic,” they said.

gjaros@durangoherald.com



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