DA Goodbee aims for the bench | VailDaily.com

DA Goodbee aims for the bench

Matt Zalaznick

District Attorney, who has held the post since 1997, says he’s put his name up for the new district judge post that’s being created in the Fifth Judicial District, which covers Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek counties.

“It has been a career goal of mine for a long time,” Goodbee said. “There have only been two openings in the District Court in the last 17 years, so when they come along I think you have to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Goodbee, 39, was appointed district attorney in 1997 by Gov. Roy Romer to replace the previous district attorney, Pete Michaelson, who resigned. Goodbee was then elected to the post in 1998, then reelected to a four-year term in 2000.

As district attorney, Goodbee would again face re-election in 2004. But if Goodbee moves to the bench, Gov. Bill Owens will appoint an attorney to replace him.

“I have always enjoyed the role of being an advocate,” Goodbee said. “But someday I look forward to being a neutral magistrate, hearing cases and making rulings based on presentations and the law.”

The selection is expected to be made in the coming weeks.

All of the applicants, whose names are not given out by the courts, will be interviewed by a nominating commission. The commission will pick approximately three candidates from that pool to be interviewed by Owens.

The commission will identify the candidates whose names are sent to Owens for final consideration.

The position pays $104,637 a year. The new judge would sit for a provisional two-year term. The judge would then have to run for election to a six-year term.

The Eagle County District Court handles more serious felonies, juvenile cases and more complex civil suits. The County Court deals with less serious felony, misdemeanor, traffic and small claims cases.

“It’s really a good scenario,” Goodbee said. “If I don’t get the appointment I’m not dissatisfied with my work. I still enjoy it and it still challenges me.”

Goodbee first applied for a judgeship in 1994.

“I decided at that point I was definitely interested in that as a long-term goal,” he said. “I also decided I needed more practical life experience before being considered a serious candidate.”

Matt Zalaznick covers public safety, Eagle County Courts and Avon/ Beaver Creek. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 606 or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.

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