Former judge returns to county bench | VailDaily.com
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Former judge returns to county bench

Matt Zalaznick

Frederick Gannett, 49, an attorney and municipal judge in Basalt, has been chosen by Gov. Bill Owens to replace Eagle County Judge Teri Diem, who will resign in January after eight years on the bench.

Diem, a former prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office, replaced Gannett when he left to go into private practice after six years on the bench.

Gannett, a Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy from 1977 to 1983, was chosen from a short list of candidates that included Eagle County District Attorney Mike Goodbee and public defender Elizabeth Espinosa.

Gannett was not available for comment.

It was Goodbee’s second attempt this summer at making the bench, and his second interview with the Republican governor. Goodbee, 39, an active Democrat, applied in June for the a district judge’s post that was created in the Fifth Judicial District, which comprises Eagle, Summit, Clear Creek and Lake counties.

Former town of Vail and Eagle County attorney Tom Moorhead was chosen for that post.

Goodbee has long aspired to be a judge. He says he and his wife were dismayed by the governor’s decision.

“Michelle and I are very, very disappointed,” Goodbee said. “But we were consoled in the breadth of people that leant their support to my effort to get on the bench. There were really a number of folks who went to bat for me.”

Several candidates applied to replace Diem and were interviewed by the special Fifth Judicial District Nominating Committee. The committee chose Gannett, Goodbee and Espinosa to be interviewed by Owens.

Goodbee was also one of three candidates the committee chose to be interviewed by the governor in July for the district bench.

“I’d like to publicly thank the committee for choosing me as one of three on both appointments,” Goodbee said.

Goodbee also applied for a spot on the District Court in 1994.

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

Goodbee will face reelection in 2004.

“After word got out (about the governor’s decision), a number of folks said they were sad but glad that I will remain in role of the D.A.,” Goodbee says. “It’s great a job.”

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

The initial term of office for a county judge is a provisional term of two years. Thereafter, the incumbent judge will have to stand for retention to serve an addition four years.

The annual salary for county judge position is $100,137.

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.


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