Aurora magistrate among 3 finalists for Adams County Court judgeship


AURORA | A magistrate from Aurora has been named one of three people nominated to become the newest county court judge in the city’s northern judicial district.

A panel of attorneys and laypeople on June 7 nominated Phelicia Kossie-Butler of Aurora, Courtney Dinnel of Arvada, and Trevor Moritzky of Broomfield to fill an upcoming vacancy on the county court bench.

The seat will officially open when Judge Michael Cox retires on July 2.

After starting her career in the state public defender’s offense, the lone candidate from Aurora, Kossie-Butler, has been an Adams County magistrate since last year, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Moritzky worked in the district attorney’s office in Adams County for more than a decade, but moved to a position in the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office at the beginning of the year, according to his LinkedIn page.

Dinnel works in her own Arvada practice and primarily handles criminal defense cases.

The starting salary for the judgeship is $165,795, according to the state judicial department.

Gov. Jared Polis now has about two weeks to select the next jurist for the judicial district that handles certain incidents that occur north of East Colfax Avenue.

County court judges handle misdemeanors, traffic incidents, certain felonies, small claims, protection orders and civil cases under $25,000.

Colorado is one of 14 states to nominate judges via some version of the Missouri Plan, which employs a nominating commission to forward preferred applicants to the governor’s office for final appointment, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. More than 20 other states select judges by election, 10 others use a unilateral gubernatorial appointment, and two states  — South Carolina and Virginia — let state legislators select judges.

The public can send comments to the Governor’s Office on any of the candidates via email here.