AURORA | Less than a month after being appointed interim presiding judge of Aurora, Judge Shawn Day was officially appointed this week to permanently replace recently retired Presiding Judge Richard Weinberg.
Day has been serving as interim presiding judge since Aug. 22; he will be officially sworn in Sept. 26.
Day, a husband with three children, was the first judge that Weinberg appointed in 2004. He came Aurora in 1992 when he was hired as city attorney, then became the city’s first on-call/relief judge in 2000.
“This appointment as presiding judge is a dream come true,” Day said. He added that he looks forward to working with his colleagues at the Aurora Municipal Court.
“I also look forward to meeting with any individual, organization or community leader and talk about their concerns with the criminal justice system or our court,” he added. “My door will always be open. I thank Mayor Hogan and each city council member for this incredible opportunity and responsibility.”
Aurora City Council may be busy making more, similar appointments: Aurora’s Municipal Court has two other judges who have served the city for decades and who may be also looking to retire, according to city officials earlier this month. If those magistrates retire, Aurora would need to fill one-third of its six-court judge seats. City officials say it’s the biggest magisterial turnover the city has ever seen, which has put pressure on Aurora City Council members to move forward with a search strategy quickly.
At an August meeting for Aurora City Council’s Public Safety Committee, committee members agreed to move forward with recommending Day be appointed to the role rather than conduct a nationwide search for a new candidate. At-Large Aurora Councilwoman Barb Cleland had recommended giving Day at least a six-month probationary period as presiding interim judge. During an executive session at Aurora City Council’s meeting Monday, members decided they needed considerably less time.
Prior to Monday’s decision, Day said, if elected to a permanent position, he would improve the court’s efficiency inside and outside of the courthouse.
Inside the courthouse, Day said he would like to provide judges at the bench with computers because it would be more efficient for them than going through hard copy files.
“We’re in the process of starting that. My bench, Division Six, is the first division to have computers put on the bench,” he said.
Outside of the courthouse, Day said he would like to see the Aurora court interacting more with advocates.
“I’m open to meeting with any community leader to discuss any concern they have,” Day said. “We can do a better job of communicating with them and sitting down at the table and listening to what the concerns are, why people are losing trust and confidence in the court.”