Fifth Judicial District’s chief judge resigning

Chief District Court Judge Tom Moorhead says Nov. 30 is his last day on the bench.
Colorado Judicial Branch/Special to the Daily |

EAGLE — The Fifth Judicial District’s chief judge is calling it quits.

Judge Tom Moorhead’s final day on the bench is Nov. 30, he said in an announcement.

Moorhead will be 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 Wednesday when Jonathan Shamis was appointed by Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia to the bench in Lake County Court.

Colorado’s Fifth Judicial District consists of Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek counties.

Moorhead has been in the legal profession since he earned his juris doctor from Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 1975. He held a variety of positions in Cincinnati until 1992, including general practice for Perrino, Woeller, & Mire from 1976-1987. He was the chief assistant in the Hamilton County, Ohio, prosecutor’s office from 1977-1987, and was a partner in Lindhorst & Dreidame from 1987-1992.

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Moorhead was Vail’s town attorney from July 1993 to June 2001, and the county attorney for Eagle County from June 2001 to August 2002.

Patton earned his law degree from the University of Denver in 1983. After working in Pueblo, he moved to Leadville in 1990 to be closer to the ski areas.

Patton became a special county attorney in 1993, and representing Lake County’s health and human services. Patton became a part-time County Court Judge in Lake County in January 2001.

Shamis will replace Patton in Lake County Court. He’s executive director of Alpine Legal Services and was a senior attorney and assistant public defender in the office of the Cook County, Ill., public defender.

Shamis earned his law degree from the DePaul University College of Law.

The Fifth Judicial District nominating commission is schedule to meet at the Eagle County Justice Center on Sept. 27 to interview and select nominees to replace Moorhead.

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.

The new judge will serve a provisional two-year term, and after that be re-elected every six years.

Applications also are available on the court’s home page at

Applications are due by 4 p.m. on Sept. 4.

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.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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