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Judicial Excellence Awards

2005 Judicial Excellence Award Recipients - Judge Thomas Curry, Judge Cindy Hull Bruner, Magistrate Stephen Schapanski

District Court Judge
Honorable Thomas J. Curry

Judge Curry was appointed to the Douglas County Court in August 1981. In November 1986, he was appointed to the District Court for the 18th Judicial District and sits in Douglas County. He currently serves as the Deputy Chief Judge for the 18th Judicial District and is the Presiding Judge for Douglas County. He has effectively managed a diversified docket for a number of years and currently hears civil and criminal cases.

Judge Curry assures personal efficiency in his courtroom by arriving at 6:00 am every morning. In his nomination he is described as “greatly respected by all judicial officers, division staff, clerk’s office staff, probation department, district attorney’s office, public defenders office, law enforcement agencies and attorneys.” He has overseen a number of high profile cases including a recent death penalty case with over 250 motions filed and three months of jury trial.

Since his appointment to the bench, Judge Curry has participated actively on a number of committees and boards, including: the Community Corrections Board for the 18th Judicial District; the Central Region Juvenile Detention Long-Range Planning Committee; the Referee Rules Committee; the Retirement Committee; the Advisory Committee for planning and construction of the Douglas County Justice Center; and the Bench-Bar-Community Relations Committee. He is the present chairperson of the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board.

He has been a guest speaker before local and national organizations including Continuing Legal Education of Colorado, International Practicum Institute, and the Lawyers Public Information Foundation. Judge Curry serves as a mentor/teacher in mock trial competitions, conducts officer training for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and participates in New Judge Orientation. In 1997, Judge Curry received the Distinguished Jurist Award from the Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

County Court Judge
Honorable Cindy Hull Bruner

Judge Bruner was appointed to the Adams County Court in 1991. Prior to becoming a judge, she served as a Deputy District Attorney in Adams County. In her nomination, Judge Bruner is described as “a creative, thoughtful and dynamic judicial officer, who reaches out to her community in an effort to provide better services.”

Judge Bruner has been an innovator in Adams County, working closely with other agencies to improve services for litigants and their families and increasing the efficiency of the court. These innovations include the establishment of protocols to more evenly distribute caseloads throughout the week, the creation of a volunteer probation program, and adoption of a process that allows high risk alcohol offenders to be sent to private probations providers for more intensive supervision. In addition, during her two terms as Presiding Judge, Judge Bruner worked for the establishment of a designated domestic violence court, and presided over 56 jury trials in the first year of the court.

Judge Bruner has been active in professional and community organizations. She currently serves on the Executive Council for the Criminal La w Section of the CBA, the Judicial Discipline Commission, the State Probation Advisory Committee, the Adams County Volunteer Probation Board, and as a mentor judge for the Ne w Judge Mentoring Program and has served on the Colorado Supreme Court Criminal Rules Committee. She is a member of the Adams-Broomfield County Bar Association, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, and the Colorado Bar Association. In 1995, she received the Ed Towey Award for “outstanding and caring service to victims of crime in Adams County”. She has dedicated countless hours to coaching and judging mock trial competitions and mentoring students at all levels. She volunteers for Rocky Mountain PBS, Ecumenical Refugee Services, and the Brighton Sisters Cities program. She has participated in community races for the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Magistrate
Stephen J. Schapanski

Magistrate Schapanski was appointed in 1993 as a District Court Magistrate for the 8 th Judicial District, after 19 years in private practice in Fort Collins. His docket is 95% domestic relations and 5% civil matters. Magistrate Schapanski ’s nomination states that “his passion for family law and children’s matters is evident in his longevity on the family docket. His creativity is shown by his successful management of domestic relations cases both in and outside of the courtroom. His tenacity is shown in his choice to stay in the family law area and his great love for family law and dedication to the best interests of children.”

Throughout his career Magistrate Schapanski has been innovative and creative. In 1995 Magistrate Schapanski helped develop and implement a pilot program that examined court efficiency and case management of domestic relations cases. This program was one of those that contributed to the recommendations made by the Court Improvement Committee and was instrumental in the later establishment of Rule 16.2. Magistrate Schapanski serves as Chair of the Advisory Board of the Larimer County Community Corrections Program and has served on the board since its inception in 1975. He has shown a dedication to establishing community corrections as a key element of the Colorado justice system. Magistrate Schapanski received the 2002 Governor’s Community Corrections Advisory Council Distinguished Service Award.

Magistrate Schapanski exhibits a commitment to his profession and community. He has served on the Colorado Court Improvement Committee, the Colorado Office of Dispute Resolution Advisory Committee, Office of the Child’s Representative Local Oversight Committee, and the Larimer County Bench/Bar Committee. He has also served on several committees of the Poudre R-1 School District. Magistrate Schapanski is a frequent presenter of CLE programs for the Larimer County Bar Association and has made numerous presentations including at the State Judicial Conference, the National Alternative Sentencing.

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