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Judicial Excellence Awards

2017 Judicial Award Recipients--District Court Judge John Popovich, County Court Judge Gary Jackson, Magistrate Frances Johnson, Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Gale Miller

Magistrate Frances R. Johnson, 4th Judicial District 


Frances R. Johnson is a Magistrate Judge in the 4th Judicial District presiding over probate and mental health cases since 2013. She attended the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and went on to earn a J.D. at the University of Texas Law School.  Over the next fifteen years, she served in various positions including assistant state attorney general, public defender, municipal prosecutor, civil and appellate litigator, solo practitioner and guardian ad litem.  In 2013 she was hired by Chief Judge Gil Martinez as a magistrate where she has served for the past 4 and a half years. Magistrate Johnson has co-presented at multiple probate CLEs and has additional experience in criminal, civil, appellate and juvenile law.


County Court Judge Gary M. Jackson, 2nd Judicial District

Judge Gary M. Jackson was appointed to the Denver County Court in September 2012 after practicing law for 42 years in Colorado. He served as a Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney in Denver and as a prosecutor in the United States’ Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado. In private practice, he represented clients in civil and criminal cases at all levels of Colorado courts. Judge Jackson co-founded the Sam Cary Bar Association in 1971. He served as president and on the boards of numerous institutions including History Colorado, U.S. District Court Federal Selection Committee, Judicial Performance Commission for the 18th J.D., the American Board of Trial Advocates, American College of Trial Lawyers, the National Bar Association, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court. Judge Jackson earned his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Colorado. He has received awards and recognition from the University of Colorado School of Law, the Colorado Bar Association, the National Bar Association and the Sam Cary Bar Association.

District Court Judge John E. Popovich, 17th Judicial District (retired)

Judge John E. Popovich received both his undergraduate degree and J.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder which included time in the U.S. Army. After he was admitted to the bar, Judge Popovich became a Vista Volunteer for the Domestic Peace Corp.  He was an attorney with the Denver Legal Aid Society, assigned to Adams County in Brighton, Colorado. After a year, he was hired as a staff attorney. In 1975, he moved from Legal Aid to private practice as a trial lawyer and litigator. He worked as a District Court Magistrate prior to being appointed a District Court Judge in 1986. He currently serves as a board member for the Community Reach Center Board of Directors (Adams County Mental Health Center).  He participates in the 9 to 5 Program through the Adams County Education Consortium affording high school students the opportunity to meet with individuals to discuss different professions.

Distinguished Judicial Leadership Award:

Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Gale T. Miller (retired)   

Judge Gale T. Miller was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals in August 2008. Prior to his appointment, Judge Miller was a litigator at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP from 1973 to 2008. Prior to his work at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, Judge Miller was a trial attorney for the Federal Trade Commission. He received his undergraduate degree from Augustana College and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

Judge Miller served on the American Bar Association Antitrust Section Civil Jury Instructions Task Force and chaired the Colorado Attorney General’s Task Force on Petroleum Marketing Practices. He is past chair of the Colorado Bar Association’s Antitrust Section, the Colorado Judicial Institute, the Colorado Lawyers Committee and Senior Housing Options.  He also served on the board of the Denver Legal Aid Foundation. He continues to serve on the Executive Committee of Our Courts and on the Colorado Access to Justice Commission. In addition to being cited in Chambers USA 2008 “The Client’s Guide,” he has been listed in Who’s Who editions, the Denver Business Journal’s Who’s Who in Professional Services and The Best Lawyers in America.

Judge Miller recently received the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award; he was the recipient of the Colorado Lawyers Committee Outstanding Sustained Achievement Award; and he received the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association Community Service Award.

Judicial Excellence Awards Nominations Now Open!

Nominations for the CJI Judicial Excellence Awards are open!  Click here to submit a nomination.

If you would like to read more about the awards, please visit the Judicial Excellence Awards page.

If you cannot use our online form, download a PDF of the form below.