Colorado trial judges
In 1966, a constitutional amendment made it so that state judges are appointed by the governor rather than elected on a political ticket. In the case of a vacancy, three nominees must be submitted to the governor for judgeships on the court of appeals or supreme court; two or three names can be submitted for county or district vacancies. Denver County is not part of the state system and this process does not apply to their judges.
District Courts hear civil cases in any amount, as well as domestic relations, criminal, juvenile, probate, and mental health cases. District court decisions may be appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals (in some cases directly to the Colorado Supreme Court).
County Courts handle civil cases under $15,000, misdemeanors, traffic infractions, felony complaints (which may be sent to district court), protection orders, and small claims. County court decisions may be appealed to the district court.
Water Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over cases relating to the determination of water rights, use and administration of water, and all other water matters. There are seven water courts, one in each of the major river basins in Colorado.
The judge operates within his or her jurisdiction with the mission of protecting constitutional and statutory rights and liberties, assuring equal access, providing fair, timely and constructive resolution of cases, enhancing public safety, supervising offenders, and facilitating victim and community reparation.