Pueblo County District Court
Contact information and website
Address: Pueblo County District Court 501 N. Elizabeth St. Pueblo, CO 81003
Phone: (719) 404-8700
Online resources provide court records, docket search, news, contact forms, and other info.
Overview of Pueblo County District Court
History and establishment
The Pueblo County District Court was established in 1861 when Colorado became a U.S. territory. Pueblo County was one of the original 17 counties created by the first Colorado General Assembly. The county was named after the historic city of Pueblo, which served as a trading post and fort along the Arkansas River.
As a district court, Pueblo County District Court has general jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters arising within its territorial boundaries. The court operates under the 10th Judicial District, along with Crowley, Otero, and Kiowa counties. There are currently four district court judges presiding over cases in Pueblo County.
Jurisdiction and types of cases
Pueblo County District Court hears a wide range of civil and criminal cases, including:
- Civil lawsuits over $15,000
- Felony criminal cases
- Domestic relations cases such as divorce, child custody, and child support
- Juvenile delinquency matters
- Mental health cases
- Probate and estate cases
- Water rights disputes
- Appeals from municipal and county courts
Common types of civil cases include personal injury, medical malpractice, contract disputes, real estate disputes, and product liability claims. Criminal felony charges range from theft and assault to more serious violent crimes like murder.
Court locations and divisions
Pueblo County District Court is based out of the Pueblo Judicial Building located at 501 N. Elizabeth Street in Pueblo. This main courthouse houses the four district court judges’ chambers and courtrooms, as well as the clerk’s office, probation department, and law library.
There are also division courthouses located in Pueblo West and Beulah which handle routine matters like traffic offenses and small claims cases. Video conferencing capabilities allow some hearings to be conducted remotely as needed between divisions.
Operations and Administration
Judges and staff
Pueblo County District Court currently has four elected district judges:
- Hon. Kimberly Karn
- Hon. Thomas Flesher
- Hon. Deborah Eyler
- Hon. Larry Schwartz
The judges are assisted by magistrate judges, who handle more routine court matters like traffic citations and small claims cases. The court also employs court clerks, probation officers, court reporters, bailiffs, and other administrative staff.
Budget and funding
As part of the state court system, Pueblo County District Court is funded through a combination of state funds, grants, court fees, and fines. A total annual budget of approximately $10 million covers personnel costs, building maintenance, technology, and other operating expenses.
Additional revenues come from statutory fees collected on each civil case filing, which helps support court programs and services. However, budget constraints can impact the court’s ability to expand services and reduce backlogs.
Filing a Lawsuit in Pueblo County District Court
Initiating a civil case
To initiate a civil lawsuit in Pueblo County District Court, the plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit) must draft and file a summons and complaint document stating factual allegations and legal claims against the defendant. This is typically done through an attorney, though individuals may also file lawsuits on their own behalf.
Key elements like proper jurisdiction, legal basis for claims, and specific relief requested must be established for a case to proceed. The plaintiff must also prepare enough copies of the filing for service on each defendant.
Filing fees and costs
There are fees for filing a new civil case in Pueblo County District Court based on the type and amount of damages sought:
- $224 for cases up to $1,000
- $319 for cases over $1,000 up to $15,000
- $458 for cases over $15,000 or nonmonetary relief
Additional fees may apply for jury demands, certifications, or other filings throughout the case. The plaintiff is responsible for covering service of process costs, deposition expenses, and other costs as the case proceeds.
Serving the defendant
Under Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, plaintiffs have 63 days after filing a complaint to complete service on defendants. This means delivering official court documents so defendants receive proper legal notice of the lawsuit. Personal service is required for most cases by having a sheriff, process server, or someone 18 or older deliver papers directly to the defendant.
Going to Trial in Pueblo County District Court
Pueblo County District Court draws prospective jurors from voter registration and drivers’ license lists. The court summons citizens to potentially serve on civil or criminal juries. On the trial date, these jurors are questioned by the judge and attorneys through voir dire to evaluate their fitness to serve on the case.
Each side can challenge a limited number of jurors either for cause or through peremptory strikes. Once selected, the final 12-person jury is sworn in to hear the trial evidence and render a verdict. Alternate jurors may also be chosen.
Trial process and procedures
The plaintiff presents their case first, calling witnesses to testify and submitting evidence for the jury. The defense then gets to put on their own case with evidence and witnesses to rebut the plaintiff’s claims. Expert witnesses are often called to analyze technical evidence or speak to liability issues.
Attorneys must follow proper courtroom protocol, submitting evidence to be marked and moving it into the record. Questioning of witnesses is done through direct examination and cross-examination. Judges decide on admitting evidence and supervise proceedings.
Witnesses and evidence
Relevant witnesses like eyewitnesses, police, doctors, and experts may provide testimony supporting each side’s version of the case. Physical evidence like documents, photographs, videos, and medical reports may also be submitted. Demonstrative evidence like models, simulations, or diagrams can help explain key technical elements.
Exhibits admitted into evidence allow the jury to review details while deliberating. The judge instructs the jury on the law that applies to evaluating the evidence.
Verdict and appeals
The jury deliberates in private to analyze trial evidence and reach a verdict. In civil cases, at least 9 of 12 jurors must agree on whether the preponderance of evidence favors the plaintiff or defendant. Jury verdicts must be unanimous in criminal cases.
If a party believes a serious legal error occurred, they can appeal the verdict to the Colorado Court of Appeals and ultimately the Colorado Supreme Court. However, higher courts give great deference to jury verdicts.
Pueblo County District Court Online Court Resources
The Pueblo County District Court serves as the cornerstone of the county’s legal system, providing a multitude of services to residents and individuals with legal concerns. To ensure that everyone has access to essential legal information, the court has made significant strides in providing resources online. These resources are not only applicable to Pueblo County but are also relevant to courts statewide.
Search Court Case Records
One of the most common needs for individuals is the ability to search court case records. Whether you’re involved in a legal matter or merely curious, you can access Pueblo County case records by number or case name through the court’s online portal. This feature provides a convenient way to obtain information about specific cases.
Pueblo County Cases of Interest
The Pueblo County District Court frequently handles cases of significance. You can easily view these cases of interest by number or case name. This is especially useful for staying informed about crucial legal proceedings in the county.
Colorado Court Records
For broader searches beyond Pueblo County, the court provides access to Colorado court records. You can search these records by name, date, court, or case type. Please note that this service may be available through two paid services.
Dockets, Calendars, and Other Information About Court Cases
Access to court dockets, calendars, and other case-related information is essential for anyone involved in the legal process. In Pueblo County, you can search for District or County Court dockets by name or case number. Similarly, for the entire state of Colorado, you can search court dockets by date, case number, or party name.
Published Opinions and Orders
Legal professionals and individuals seeking insights into recent court decisions will find the section on published opinions and orders particularly helpful. You can view selected recent Colorado District Court opinions by date, case name, judge, or court.
Forms and Related Information
Navigating the legal system often involves completing forms for various purposes. The court offers an online self-help forms portal where you can fill out Colorado court forms for consumer, health, benefits, and court process issues. These forms are interactive, and completed forms can be saved and printed for your convenience.
Self-Help, Legal Research, General Information
The court’s commitment to assisting the public extends to self-help resources and legal research. You can find information on various legal topics, including family and juvenile law, immigration, housing, health, employment, benefits, civil rights, and Native American issues. These resources are available in multiple languages, making them accessible to a diverse audience.
Colorado State Law
Understanding Colorado’s legal framework is crucial for anyone navigating the legal system. You can view Colorado Court Rules, Statutes, and the Constitution, allowing you to search by title or topic. This resource is beneficial for legal professionals and those simply seeking to better comprehend state laws.
Colorado Supreme Court Library
The Colorado Supreme Court Library offers a wealth of online legal research assistance, court rules, and self-help services. This resource is an invaluable tool for those conducting legal research and looking for guidance on various legal matters.
Glossary of Legal Terms
Legal terminology can be complex and confusing. The glossary of legal terms helps demystify legal jargon by providing definitions for common legal terms used in Colorado courts. It’s a handy reference for individuals seeking clarity in legal documents and proceedings.
Resources for Litigants
Self-representation and legal aid
Individuals who cannot afford an attorney may represent themselves in Pueblo County District Court. The court provides forms and guidance to assist self-represented litigants through the process. Free or low-cost legal assistance may also be available from legal aid providers like Pueblo Legal Services or Colorado Legal Services for those who qualify.
Court forms and documents
Pueblo County District Court has downloadable forms and instructions on its website to help parties file documents, respond to lawsuits, request hearings, enforce orders, and more. Court staff can also answer general questions about required forms, deadlines, and logistics.
Pueblo County District Court handles important civil and criminal matters for Pueblo residents. While navigating the court system can seem complex, resources exist to help people through the various legal processes. Understanding the court’s operations, key personnel, and procedures allows citizens to effectively exercise their due process rights and have their day in court.
How do I get appointed a public defender in Pueblo County District Court?
Those facing criminal charges who cannot afford a private attorney may request a public defender by completing an application showing financial eligibility. The court will review and make an appointment if you qualify.
What are the standard business hours for Pueblo County District Court?
Regular court hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, excluding holidays. Some hearings may be scheduled earlier or later as needed. Always check your papers for the exact time.
Can I bring electronics like my cell phone into the Pueblo County courthouse?
Cell phones and laptops are generally allowed after passing through security, but rules vary by courtroom. Cameras, recording devices, and weapons are prohibited without specific authorization. Check posted rules before entering.
How can I access public court records for Pueblo County District Court cases?
The court’s online case search system allows basic docket lookups for free. More detailed records like filings and documents can be viewed at courthouse public terminals or obtained for a copy fee.
What number do I call to check if Pueblo County District Court is closed due to inclement weather?
Call the Pueblo County District Court phone line at 719-404-8700 and select option #9 for the most up-to-date message regarding weather closures, delays, or other announcements.