Courts in Colorado
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Courts in Colorado include the six courts of Colorado's state court system, one federal district court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which is based in Denver.
The supreme court has direct appellate jurisdiction over potentially unconstitutional statutes, writs of habeas corpus and criminal appeals. The court also has special jurisdiction over any cases involving the Public Utilities Commission, water rights, summary proceedings of the Election Code, and over attorney and judge regulation.
The court of appeals is the state's intermediate appellate court. The Colorado Court of Appeals hears most of the direct appeals from the district courts. It also hears appeals from the rulings of some of Colorado's administrative agencies.
The district courts are the trial courts with general jurisdiction. District courts handle felony criminal matters, civil claims in any amount, juvenile matters (including adoption, dependency and neglect matters, juvenile delinquency, and paternity actions), probate, mental health, divorce proceedings and water cases.
Courts with limited jurisdiction
County courts handle civil cases involving no more than $15,000, misdemeanor cases, felony advisements, bond setting, preliminary hearings and traffic cases. County judges also issue search warrants as well as restraining orders in cases involving domestic violence arrest.
The Denver Probate Court is the only court of its kind in the state. It has exclusive jurisdiction over "all matters of probate, settlements of estates of deceased persons, appointment of guardians, conservators and administrators, and settlement of their accounts, the adjudication of the mentally ill, and such other jurisdiction as may be provided by law."
The Denver Juvenile Court is the only court of its kind in the state. It handles matters pertaining to the youth in the court system.
The municipal courts are created by local governments separate from the state judicial system, but are subject to the rules and procedures set forth by the Colorado Supreme Court.
The only federal district court in Colorado is the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. In addition, Denver is home to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which hears appeals from the district courts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.
- House Bill 11-1032 passed Colorado’s General Assembly on May 11, 2011, and was signed by the governor the following June 7. This bill doesn't force DAs to use restorative justice, but it mandates that judges must inform victims and defendants of the option.
- "If offenders have a better understanding of the harm that they have done to the community, they will have a better foundation to build in themselves better behavior. They understand that their actions have consequences. The idea is that then it makes it harder for the individual to do harm to the community after they are released." - Liz McDonough, Spokesperson for the CDHS
- For the contents of the actual bill, please see: Bill HB11-1032: Concerning Restorative Justice
- Fairnessworks.com, "Restorative Justice Bill Passes Colorado General Assembly," May 31, 2011
- Home Page of Representative Pete Lee, "Restorative Justice Passes in the House," April 18, 2011