To provide the community with equal access to the courts for the resolution of legal issues through a just forum, uniform procedures and accurate records.
The Judges and employees of the 7th Judicial District welcome you to the official Colorado State Courts website. It has been developed to assist you in finding general information about and contact points for the offices within this District.
SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
STATE OF COLORADO
The 7th Judicial District is made up of six counties in west-central Colorado. The counties of the District include: Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel. There are combined Court Clerk’s offices (District Court and County Court) in the county seat of each of these counties and an associate County Court for Montrose County located in Nucla in the western part of Montrose County. Additionally, a Water Court (Division 4) is set up specially to handle matters related to water in this region. The geographical area of the District is approximately 10,000 square miles of mostly high mountain valleys. This area is about the same size as the state of Vermont or Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware combined. The distance between Lake City in the eastern part of the District and Nucla in the west is approximately 200 miles one-way. The towns of Gunnison (Gunnison County), Lake City (Hinsdale) and Telluride (San Miguel County) have elevations of over 7,700 feet. The population of the District as estimated by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs Division of Local Government for 2013 is 103137.
The 7th Judicial District has five District Court Judges who handle diversified dockets. The current District Judges are located in Delta, Gunnison and Montrose. The average traveling distance for District Judges is 74 miles one way to the other court locations from their home office. The District Judges' cases include domestic relations, criminal, juvenile, mental health, probate, and civil filings that exceed the County Court jurisdictional amount of $15,000. There are seven County Judges who are responsible for handling traffic, misdemeanor, and civil cases under the jurisdictional limit of $15,000. The Montrose County Court implemented a FirstAppearanceCenter in 2008. The FirstAppearanceCenter is designed to streamline the disposition of misdemeanor, traffic and traffic infraction cases by dealing efficiently with a high volume of cases. In addition to the Judges, the 7th Judicial District has two part-time Magistrates. The Magistrates handle Dependency and Neglect and Domestic Relations cases in Delta and Montrose counties generally. E-filing became mandatory for District and County civil cases in all courts in January 2009, for Domestic Relations cases in March 2009 and Probate and Water cases in May 2009. The 7th Judicial District filed an average of approximately 10,604 County Court cases and 5,057 District Court cases from FY 2010-2013 .
The Chief Judge is the administrative head of the 7th JD Trial Court and Probation Department. With the assistance of the District Administrator and Chief Probation Officer, the Chief Judge manages the operations of the 7th JD Trial Court and Probation Department. The District has 67 full or part-time employees including Judicial Officers, Clerks of Court and Deputy Clerks who support the operations of the Court. The Probation Department has 27 employees in four locations in the District. The District’s payroll and operating budget is approximately $4.75 million.
The largest towns in the District are Delta, Gunnison and Montrose. Delta County is the location for a Department of Corrections facility just outside the City of Delta. Gunnison is home to Western State College. Gunnison County (Crested Butte Ski Area) and San Miguel County (Telluride Ski Area) each boast one of the largest ski resorts in western Colorado. Montrose is in the center of the District, and region, and is the location of many state and federal government offices. It is also a center of retail business for the region with large retailers like Target, J. C. Penney, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Petsmart, Sports Authority, Office Depot and restaurants chains like Chili’s, Applebee’s, Rib City Grill, Starbucks (3) and Heidi’s Deli with locations in the City of Montrose. Gunnison County and Montrose County also boasts the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. This National Park was designated in October 199 and is a large tourist attraction promoting retail and service related business growth in the area. Hinsdale, Ouray and San Miguel Counties are within national historic districts and have many recreational sites popular with tourist and sportsman alike. Tourism/recreation, agri-business, retail and government are the main employers of the area. Some new light industry and retail businesses (Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond) and restaurants (Olive Garden, South of the Border, Old Chicago) have filed intention to put stores in the area which will effect population, employment and the need for government services including courts if these come to fruition.
The 7th Judicial District continues to strive to respond to changing concerns and circumstances of the courts. This requires the continued evaluation of staff resources and the implementation of changes to meet the needs of the general public accessing the system. The 7th Judicial District has instituted a number of measures to process our cases and manage the workloads. These include a centralized Jury Commissioner who manages the jury operations for all courts, a centralized Account Clerk who takes care of the regular reporting and management processes for all the courts in the District, and centralized records management personnel who are trying to reduce paper by scanning appropriate records to be held electronically and response to public requests for review and copies of records.
Rev October 2013