01 July 2008

Another Round Of Colorado Judicial Nominations

There is a vacancy in the 17th Judicial District for a trial judge position in the court of general jurisdiction (i.e. felonies, domestic cases and civil disputes in excess of $15,000 or involving title to real estate) there, which basically comprises suburbs North of Denver proper. Historically, these appointments have been virtually lifetime appointments. An e-mail seeking input on a very short time frame was issued by Governor Ritter's office:

[T]he Governor received a slate of three nominees for the judgeship in the Seventeenth Judicial District Court. This judgeship was created by the retirement of Judge Harlan Bockman. Brief biographies of each of the nominees are provided below.

Due to the Governor’s travel schedule, the interviews for this position will be conducted on Thursday morning, July 3, 2008. To have the greatest impact, please submit your comments by 4:00 p.m tomorrow, Wednesday, July 2, 2008. Because of this tight schedule, we will consider comments received by the close of business on Monday, July 7, 2008. We apologize for this tight schedule for receiving comments. Unfortunately, the volume of judicial appointments and constraints on the Governor’s schedule make such tight turnaround necessary for this and some future judicial appointments.

Please e-mail your comments to this e-mail address(judicial.appointments@state.co.us). . . .

The three nominees are:

Frederick Michael Goodbee of Westminster is currently the 17th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney, a position he has held since 2005. Mr. Goodbee focuses on complex criminal cases in addition to administrative, management and media relations duties. Prior to taking this position Mr. Goodbee supervised the criminal justice section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office (2003-2005); served two terms as the 5th Judicial District Attorney (1997-2002) and as Deputy and Chief Deputy District Attorney in that office (1991-1996); and practiced privately (1989-1991, 1996-1997). Mr. Goodbee is currently a member of the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors and Sitting Chair of the Executive Council for the Colorado Bar Association Criminal Law Section. Additionally, he serves as President of the Board for the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, is a Board Member of Access Housing, works with the 17th Judicial District Teen Court, is active in the Adams County Youth Initiative, and is a member of the Brighton Kiwanis Club. Mr. Goodbee received his B.A. from Colorado State University (1985) and his J.D. from Tulane University (1989).

Robert Walker Kiesnowski, Jr. of Commerce City is currently a partner with Worstell & Kiesnowski, Attorneys at Law. Mr. Kiesnowski has a general practice focusing on business/commercial litigation (30%), torts/civil rights litigation (20%), appellate matters (20%), employment litigation (10%), construction litigation (10%), estate/probate matters (5%), and criminal defense (5%). Prior to starting this firm, Mr. Kiesnowski was an Associate with the Law Offices of Mitch Geller (1994-1996), a Partner in the Law Offices of Maguire & Kiesnowski (1992-1994), and an Associate with the Law Offices of Frank Moya & Daniel Recht. Mr. Kiesnowski is a member of the Colorado Bar Association, the Adams/Broomfield County Bar Association, and the Colorado Civil Justice League. Additionally, he serves as president of the Eagle Creek Homeowner’s Association. Mr. Kiesnowski received his B.S. and B.A, from Regis College (1987) and his J.D. from the University of Puget Sound School of Law (1990), which is now the Seattle University School of Law.

Leroy D. Kirby of Brighton is currently a 17th Judicial District Magistrate Judge, a position he has held since 2007. Mr. Kirby presides over domestic relations (40%), civil (30%), juvenile (15%), and criminal (15%) cases. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Kirby was a Deputy State Public Defender (1996-2007). Mr. Kirby also served as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy (1990-1992), and then joined the United States Navy Reserve, where he holds the rank of Commander. He has been recalled to active duty three times and has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and two Joint Service Commendation medals. Additionally, he is a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club in Brighton. Mr. Kirby obtained a B.A. from Regis University (1989) and received his J.D. from the University of Denver (1995).

From a position of pure personal bias, I appreciate the experience Mr. Kiesnowski would bring to the kind of cases I handle in that court, as the other two candidates have primarily practiced criminal law (an area of law in which I do not practice, even though it is an important part of the District Court docket). But I do not know any of the candidates at all, and each of them appear to have the basic qualifications necessary to deserve serious consideration for such a position on paper.

I encourage anyone with personal knowledge of these candidates to promptly contact the Governor at the e-mail address above.

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