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Promoting Judicial Excellence in Colorado Since 1979


2020 Judicial Excellence Awards Nominees Announced

Congratulations to the 2020 Judicial Excellence Awards nominees!  And a big thank you to all our nominators who took the time to help us find these amazing, hardworking judges and magistrates even in the midst of a pandemic.  This year’s honorees will be announced next week.

Judge Michelle Amico
Judge Randall Arp
Judge Ingrid Bakke
Judge Julie Field
Judge Ken Laff
Judge Andrew McCallin
Judge Ed Moss
Judge Larry Schwartz
Judge Mark Thompson

The Colorado Chief Judges Council
Judge Bruce Raaum
Judge Mark Randall
Judge Theresa Spahn
Magistrate Melissa Annis
Magistrate Clayburn Hurst
Magistrate Mariana Vielma
Magistrate Jami Vigil


Congratulations Our Courts Colorado!

The CBA/CJI joint program Our Courts Colorado received the 2020 Sandra Day O’Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education from the National Center for State Courts.

Founded in 2007 to provide nonpartisan information about Colorado’s unique judicial system, Our Courts presents topics ranging from an explanation of judicial selection to how bankruptcy cases work to an introduction to immigration courts. The program has reached more than 20,000 Coloradans.

From the outset, Our Courts organizers recognized that the program’s success meant reaching African-American and Hispanic communities. Hispanic program materials are translated into Spanish and presented by Spanish-speaking judges and lawyers. There is also a high school outreach program.

The NCSC selected Our Courts for its broad reach, continued program expansion, and its ability to be replicated in other jurisdictions around the country. To schedule an Our Courts Colorado presentation, visit For more on this award, click to…/news-r…/2020/sandra-day-oconnor-award.


Straight Talk with Justices Postponed

 In response to Colorado public health officials’ call for social distancing due to COVID-19 and in conjunction with our faculty from the Supreme Court, CJI has decided to postpone our March 2019 Straight Talk with Justices until this health crisis has passed.

We will contact all the registered participants with the new date and time.  If you have a scheduling conflict with the new date, you may cancel anytime up to the day before the new CLE date.

If you have any questions, please contact Cynthia Ophaug-Johansen at 303-766-7501 or

CJI Unveils Free Mediation Guide

The Colorado Judicial Institute has published a free online mediation guide for Coloradoans who are ordered into mediation by the courts or who are party to a lawsuit and would like to take advantage of the benefits of mediation. Find A Party's Guide to Colorado Court-Ordered Mediation here.

CJI has long supported the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to help settle lawsuits. Research has shown that mediation can produce a faster, more cost-effective, and more durable resolution for parties, even if the case is already in the courts.

A big thank you to Judge Lynn Karowsky, the CJI ADR committee and Colorado’s Office of Dispute Resolution for this much needed resource.

Our Courts Launches Program for Colorado's Upcoming Voters

Our Courts Colorado has a new high school program teaching the next generation about Colorado's merit selection system for appointing judicial officers.

Our Courts started a little over a decade ago out of an unsuccessful ballot initiative to impose term limits for appellate judges.  CJI and other organizations opposing the initiative they realized most voters didn’t really know how Colorado’s judicial system works.  Our Courts has been educating adults around Colorado ever since.  This is their first program for high schoolers.

Find the complete article here.

Interested in Becoming More Involved in the Colorado Judicial Institute?

Join one of our committees!  Contact our Executive Director, Joshua Anderson, at for additional information.

50 Years of Merit Selection: Gov. Hickenlooper’s Proclamation
Get the Facts! Judicial Merit Selection in Colorado
Law Week: Celebrating 50 Years of Merit Selection in Colorado
Want to know how Colorado selects and evaluates judges?
Family Law Committee Report: Parent Perceptions

Parents' Voices: The Other Side of the Bench was released in July 2011. The report, conducted over a two year period, uses surveys and interviews of parents who were involved in dependency and neglect proceedings in Colorado courts. The report is available for download below.