Polis tabs Denver magistrate to become Arapahoe County judge

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AURORA | Gov. Jared Polis on Monday tabbed a Denver magistrate to become the newest judge in Arapahoe County Court.

Melina Hernandez will replace Don Toussaint in the largest county court jurisdiction in the 18th Judicial District, the governor’s office announced in a news release.

Toussaint, a former magistrate himself, was called up to become a judge in the local district court earlier this year. He replaced John Scipione in county court after Scipione was promoted to district court two years ago.

After beginning her career as a domestic law clerk, Hernandez most recently served in a part-time role in the Denver Juvenile Court and as a family-court facilitator in the state capital’s district court. She graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2011.

Hernandez beat out a pair of Aurora residents in Phelicia Kossie-Butler and Joseph Whitfield Jr. to earn a seat on the local county court.

County judges serve an initial two-year term after being appointed, according to the Colorado Judicial Department. Judges at the county-level then stand for re-election every four years but must retire by age 72.

Hernandez will begin in her new role in January.

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