Fremont County District Court
Introduction to Fremont County District Court
The Fremont County District Court is part of the state court system in Colorado and serves Fremont County. This court handles major civil lawsuits and serious criminal cases that occur within the county. The District Court has broad jurisdiction over felony criminal matters, civil cases with claims exceeding $25,000, juvenile cases, divorce and family law, and probate and estate cases. Keep reading to learn more about the court system, judges, dockets, records, and procedures for Fremont County District Court.
Overview of the court system in Fremont County
The Colorado state court system is divided into district courts, county courts, and municipal courts. Fremont County has a District Court as well as a County Court and several municipal courts. The District Court oversees felony criminal cases, civil lawsuits with claims over $25,000, divorce and family law, probate and estates, juvenile cases, and appeals from the lower county and municipal courts. Traffic offenses, misdemeanors, small claims, and civil suits under $25,000 are handled by the County and municipal courts.
History and establishment of the District Court
The Colorado District Courts were established when Colorado became a state in 1876. The District Courts have general jurisdiction, meaning they can hear all civil and criminal cases. Fremont County was created in 1861, so it had a county court at that time. The District Court for the 11th Judicial District was established to serve Fremont, Chaffee, Custer and Park counties. There are currently 5 district court judges serving Fremont County and the 11th Judicial District.
Jurisdiction and types of cases
Fremont County District Court has jurisdiction over the following types of cases:
- Felony criminal cases – robberies, murders, sex crimes, drug offenses
- Major civil cases – lawsuits over $25,000, property disputes, breach of contract
- Domestic relations – divorce, paternity, child custody and support
- Juvenile cases – crimes committed by minors, juvenile dependency
- Probate and estate cases – wills, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships
- Appeals from lower courts
So the District Court handles more serious criminal cases and higher value civil lawsuits, as well as family law and probate matters. Traffic tickets, misdemeanors, civil suits under $25,000 and small claims all go through County Court instead.
Court Locations and Contact Information
Fremont County District Court is based out of the main courthouse in Canon City, but also hears cases in other locations throughout the county. Here are the court addresses and phone numbers:
Main courthouse in Canon City
Fremont County Justice Center
136 Justice Center Rd
Canon City, CO 81212
Phone: (719) 269-0170
This courthouse houses the main court administrative offices and most of the district courtrooms. Felony criminal cases and major civil trials are held here.
Other court locations
In addition to Canon City, the District Court judges travel to other towns and cities within Fremont County to hear cases locally:
- Florence Courthouse – 110 E Front St, Florence, CO 81226
- Salida Courthouse – 448 E 1st St #109, Salida, CO 81201
- Cripple Creek Courthouse – 334 E Carr Ave, Cripple Creek, CO 80813
Contact details for the court
The main phone number for Fremont County District Court is (719) 269-0170. This number can be used to reach the following departments:
- Court clerk’s office
- Jury services
- Probate court
- Records department
- Court administrative offices
The website for the 11th Judicial District has court contact info, forms, dockets, and other info: https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/District/Index.cfm?District_ID=11
Judges and Staff of the District Court
There are 5 district court judges and 3 magistrate judges who serve Fremont County and make up the judiciary. The court clerk oversees court administration and staff.
District court judges
The district court judges are elected to 6-year terms. They preside over trials, hearings, sentencings and other court matters. The current Fremont County district court judges are:
- Hon. Ramsey Lama
- Hon. Patrick W. Murphy
- Hon. Mark Thompson
- Hon. Lucy Denzel Dickinson
- Hon. Jann P. DuBois
Magistrate judges handle preliminary proceedings in criminal cases as well as civil protection orders, small claims, and traffic infractions. The Fremont County magistrate judges are:
- Hon. Kristen Kay O’Connor
- Hon. Cynthia Ann Cimino
- Hon. Cara Boxberger
Court clerk and staff
The district court clerk is responsible for managing court records, processing paperwork, administering the jury system, and overseeing the daily operations of the court administrative offices. The current Fremont County district court clerk is Kathy Elliott. The clerk’s office staff handles front counter assistance, data entry, filing, and scanning court records. There are also court reporters who record hearings and produce transcripts.
Litigation in District Court
The District Court handles a wide variety of civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions. Here are some of the most common types of cases litigated in District Court:
On the civil side, the District Court oversees lawsuits involving:
- Breach of contract disputes between businesses
- Personal injury and wrongful death claims from car accidents or negligence
- Medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors or hospitals
- Product liability claims against manufacturers
- Premises liability cases against property owners
- Real estate and property disputes over boundaries, easements, titles
- Employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims
- Challenges to local government decisions
For criminal matters, District Court handles cases involving:
- Violent felonies such as murder, kidnapping, sex assaults
- White collar crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, identity theft
- Drug distribution and trafficking
- Weapons charges and unlawful discharge
- DUI and vehicular assault or homicide
- Crimes against children including abuse and pornography
The District Attorney’s Office prosecutes felony criminal cases in District Court on behalf of the State of Colorado.
Family law matters
Family law issues such as divorce, paternity, child support, and custody get addressed in District Court. These cases involve:
- Divorce, legal separation, annulment
- Property division and alimony determination
- Establishing or contesting paternity
- Custody disputes between parents
- Modification of prior custody, visitation, and support orders
- Protection orders against domestic abuse
Probate and trusts
The District Court oversees probate matters such as:
- Estate administration when someone dies
- Contested wills and trusts
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Mental health cases with involuntary holds
So the Court handles probating wills, appointing estate representatives, and deciding claims against estates. It also names guardians for minors and incapacitated adults when needed.
Fremont County District Court Online Court Resources
In today’s digital age, accessing information and resources related to the court system has become more convenient than ever. The Fremont County District Court, located in Colorado, is no exception to this trend. This article explores the online court resources available for the Fremont County District Court and provides insights into general online court resources applicable to courts throughout Colorado.
Finding Case Information Online
Navigating Court Case Records
When it comes to legal matters, accessing court case records is crucial. The Fremont County District Court offers an efficient online platform for individuals seeking to search for court case records. This resource allows users to easily find the information they need by searching for specific cases by name or case number.
Colorado Court Records
Expanding beyond Fremont County, individuals can access Colorado Court records online. This resource enables users to search for court records throughout the state of Colorado. You can search by name, date, court, or case type, making it a versatile tool for legal research.
Dockets, Calendars, and More
Accessing information about court cases, including docket information and calendars, is simplified with online resources. The Fremont County District Court’s online docket search allows users to find specific cases by name or case number. Similarly, Colorado offers a comprehensive search tool to access dockets for District and County courts statewide.
Published Opinions and Orders
For those interested in legal precedents and recent court decisions, the Colorado District Court provides access to selected recent opinions. Users can search by date, case name, judge, or court to gain valuable insights into the legal landscape.
Simplifying Legal Procedures
The process of filling out court forms can often be complex. However, Colorado offers online self-help forms that guide individuals through the process. These interactive forms cover a range of legal issues, including consumer, health, benefits, and court process matters. Completed forms can be saved and printed for submission.
Colorado Court Forms and Instructions
To further assist individuals navigating the legal system, Colorado provides access to a wide array of court forms and instructions. These resources cover various subjects, including divorce, family matters, civil unions, evictions, foreclosures, and identity theft. With options to view forms by category, alphabetical order, or form number, users can easily find the specific documents they need. Spanish versions of these forms are also available for accessibility.
Colorado emphasizes self-help resources, aiming to empower individuals in their legal endeavors. Resources for foreclosure prevention, sealing criminal records, and child support services are readily accessible online. These tools provide valuable information and guidance to those seeking assistance in these areas.
Consumer protection is a priority in Colorado. The Colorado Attorney General’s Office offers resources to educate the public about fraud and scams, providing alerts and assistance. Additionally, they offer a consumer resource guide and online fraud report forms in both English and Spanish.
Self-Representation in Court
Representing oneself in court is a challenging task, but Colorado provides information to help individuals navigate this process effectively. Self-representation resources are available for those who choose to appear in court without legal representation.
Extensive Legal Information
Colorado offers a wealth of legal information that covers a broad spectrum of topics, including family and juvenile law, immigration, housing, health, employment, benefits, civil rights, and Native American issues. This information is available in multiple languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Punjabi, Russian, and Spanish, to ensure accessibility for diverse communities.
The Colorado Judicial Branch offers informative brochures in both English and Spanish on various legal topics. These brochures cover areas such as child support, civil court actions, restraining orders, traffic violations, juvenile delinquency and neglect, mediation, and small claims cases.
Accessing State Laws
For those seeking comprehensive information on Colorado’s legal framework, access to court rules, statutes, and the state constitution is just a click away. Users can search by title or topic to find the specific legal information they need.
Legal Terminology Made Simple
Legal jargon can be daunting, but Colorado offers a glossary of common legal terms used in its courts. This resource helps individuals better understand legal proceedings and documents.
Legal Aid and Assistance
Colorado is committed to providing legal aid and assistance to those in need. Resources for domestic violence prevention, free legal services, lawyer referrals, and public defender offices are available for individuals facing legal challenges.
Finding Legal Professionals
Locating legal professionals in Colorado is made easy through the Colorado Bar Association’s online directory. Users can search by name, practice area, location, and use advanced search options to find the right legal expert for their needs.
Register of actions and dockets
Each case has an online register of actions, or docket sheet, showing a chronological list of every filing, order, and hearing date in the case. This provides a summary of the case proceedings. The case number is needed to look up a register of actions.
Party and attorney information
The online case record will show the names and contact details of the parties and their attorneys involved in a case.
Accessing court records online
Documents filed in civil and criminal cases can be viewed online through the Colorado Courts portal. This includes the complaint or charges, motions, briefs, judgments and verdicts. Criminal arrest affidavits and search warrants may have restricted access.
Limitations of online information
While court dockets and some records can be accessed online, certain sensitive cases like juvenile dependencies and mental health matters are confidential. Custody disputes and civil protection orders also restrict public access. The online case record may not include all filed documents in a case either.
Accessing District Court Records
Original court files can be made available for public review at the courthouse clerk’s office. Policies and fees apply.
Requesting court files at the clerk’s office
Court files can be examined in person at the clerk’s office counter. Photo ID is required. Files must be requested by case number or party name. Certain cases have viewing restrictions.
Policies and procedures
There are rules against removing court files from the clerk’s office. Pens are not allowed when reviewing records. Only paper copies can be made. Files must stay in order. Food and drinks are prohibited.
Fees for copies
The clerk’s office charges $0.75 per page for photocopies from a court file. Certified copies are $1.50 per page. Record retrieval fees range from $2-$5 depending on how long it takes the clerk to locate the file. Online access costs $7 per case.
Courtroom Locations and Layout
There are multiple courtrooms used for proceedings in the Fremont County courthouses. Security is tight in the court buildings.
Courtroom locations in Canon City
The Canon City Justice Center houses most of the main district courtrooms:
- Courtroom 1 – Primary district courtroom
- Courtroom 2 – Used for trials and hearings
- Courtroom 3 – Another multi-purpose courtroom
- Courtroom 4 – Proceedings for juvenile and family law
Everyone entering a courthouse must pass through a metal detector security checkpoint. Bags are x-rayed. No weapons allowed. Food, drinks, knives, scissors, pepper spray prohibited.
Courtroom seating and layout
The judge sits at a bench facing the courtroom. The witness stand is nearby. Opposing counsel sit at tables in front of the judge’s bench. The jury box holds the jury during a trial. Public seating is behind the bar. Defendants sit at counsel table or sometimes appear from a holding cell. Court reporter sits below judge.
Attending a District Court Hearing
If you’re involved in a District Court case, you’ll need to make court appearances for status hearings, motions, and trial. Here’s what to expect:
Finding hearing dates and times
Hearing schedules get posted on the online register of actions for a case. Parties also receive mailed notices. Your attorney will know when you need to appear.
Courtroom conduct and etiquette
Dress respectfully – no shorts or hats. Turn off cell phones and devices. Stand when the judge enters and exits. Only speak when addressed by judge. Refer to the judge as “Your Honor.” Keep discussions calm and polite.
What to expect during a hearing
The judge and courtroom clerk will call the case. Attorneys argue motions or present evidence. Witnesses take the stand for testimony. The judge makes any necessary rulings.
Jury Duty in District Court
Serving as a trial juror in District Court is an important civic responsibility. You may get summoned one day.
Jury selection process
A jury summons will be mailed with instructions to report to court for jury selection. At court, potential jurors are screened to ensure fairness. Lawyers question jurors and select who will actually serve.
Serving on a trial jury
If selected, you’ll hear opening statements, witness testimony, see evidence, and receive jury instructions before deliberating. Jurors decide guilt or liability and sometimes recommend penalties or damages.
Rules for jurors
There are strict rules jurors must follow, like not discussing the case outside court. All juror deliberations are confidential. Jurors cannot do outside research or talk to parties in the case. Pay attention carefully in court.
Working with an Attorney for District Court
Having an experienced attorney represent you in District Court is highly recommended. Here are some tips:
Finding and hiring a lawyer
Ask people for referrals to lawyers with good reputations. Search online for attorneys practicing in the right area. Interview potential hires about qualifications, fees, and strategy. Compare options.
What to expect from your attorney
A competent lawyer will evaluate your case, offer strategic advice, conduct discovery, negotiate when beneficial, and competently represent you at hearings and trial. Good communication is essential.
Attorney tips for clients
Be organized and keep copies of all documents. Review court papers closely and ask questions. Return calls and emails promptly to aid your case. Tell your lawyer about new info and contacts. Pay fees on time.
In summary, Fremont County District Court oversees important felony criminal prosecutions, major civil lawsuits, family and probate cases. The District Court has multiple judges and courtrooms located in Canon City, Florence, Salida, and Cripple Creek. Court records can be reviewed online through the Colorado Courts portal. Having an experienced attorney represent you in District Court legal matters is highly advisable. This overview provided key highlights about accessing and navigating this court system in Fremont County.
How do I request records from Fremont County District Court?
You can search for and view some case records through the online Colorado Courts portal. To access original files, visit the clerk’s office counter at the courthouse in person and request a case file by case number or party name. Files cannot leave the clerk’s office.
What is the difference between District Court and County Court?
District Courts handle felonies, major civil cases over $25,000, juvenile crimes, family law, and probate. County Courts address misdemeanors, traffic infractions, civil lawsuits under $25,000, small claims, and preliminary proceedings in criminal cases.
Who are the current Fremont County District Court judges?
The five district court judges are Hon. Ramsey Lama, Hon. Patrick W. Murphy, Hon. Mark Thompson, Hon. Lucy Denzel Dickinson, and Hon. Jann P. DuBois. There are also three magistrate judges who handle certain proceedings.
How can I look up court dockets and case files online?
Use the online portal for Colorado Courts to search by party name or case number. This provides registers of actions with hearing dates and case summaries. Many actual filings can also be viewed digitally through the portal.
What should I wear when appearing in District Court?
Dress respectfully and conservatively for court. Wear business attire or dress pants and a nice shirt. No shorts, tank tops, hats, or ripped clothing. Turn off cell phones and devices before entering the courtroom.
How do I access court case records in Fremont County?
To access court case records in Fremont County, you can use the online search tool provided by the Fremont County District Court. Simply enter the name or case number to find the information you need.
Can I find court records for cases outside of Fremont County in Colorado?
Yes, you can access court records for cases throughout Colorado. The state offers a comprehensive online search tool that allows you to search by name, date, court, or case type.
Are there resources to help with filling out court forms in Colorado?
Yes, Colorado provides online self-help forms that guide individuals through the process of filling out court forms. These interactive forms cover various legal issues and can be saved and printed.
How can I find legal representation in Colorado?
You can find legal professionals in Colorado by using the online directory provided by the Colorado Bar Association. You can search by name, practice area, location, and more.
Is legal information available in languages other than English in Colorado?
Yes, Colorado offers legal information in multiple languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Punjabi, Russian, and Spanish, to ensure accessibility for diverse communities.