EAGLE COUNTY —The local judicial shuffle finished Thursday when Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed a new District Court judge.
Paul Dunkelman will be the new District Court judge in the Fifth Judicial District — Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties. Dunkelman will fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Chief District Court Judge R. Thomas Moorhead.
Dunkelman currently works in private practice for the law firm of Carlson, Carlson & Dunkelman LLC, where he focuses on family, criminal, civil and business law. He is also an adjunct professor at Colorado Mountain College and a prosecuting attorney for the town of Leadville.
Dunkelman earned his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and his law degree from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver.
He takes his seat on the bench on Nov. 30.
District Court Judge Mark D. Thompson will be the Fifth Judicial District’s new chief judge, replacing Moorhead.
Moorhead is joining a Front Range mediation firm comprised of other former judges. Moorhead was appointed to the bench in 2002 and has served as chief judge since 2010.
Moorhead was Vail’s town attorney from July 1993-June 2001, and the county attorney for Eagle County from June 2001-August 2002.
Thompson was appointed to the district court bench in 2010. He is a graduate of Bates College and attended the University of Denver College of Law.
Moorhead’s retirement is the Fifth Judicial District’s third judge change this year. Wayne Patton was selected as the new district judge, creating an opening in Lake County that was filled when Jonathan Shamis was appointed by Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia to the bench in Lake County Court.
To be a District Court judge, applicants must be registered to vote in the Fifth Judicial District and must have been able to practice law in Colorado for five years. The job pays $133,228.
Each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts has a judicial district nominating commission. The nominating commission selects three nominees for the district and county judicial vacancies of which the final appointment is selected.
Members of the Fifth Judicial District nominating commission are George Clark Jr., of Evergreen; Gregory Johnson, of Edwards; Christina Hooper, of Eagle; John Montepare, of Breckenridge; Heather Scanlon, of Leadville; and Daniel Wolf, of Silverthorne.