Gannett fills new judge position |

Gannett fills new judge position

J.K. Perry

DENVER ” Gov. Bill Owens Monday announced the appointment of Fred Gannett to a recently created bench position in the Fifth Judicial District, which covers Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek counties.

The appointment was effective Saturday, the start of the current fiscal year, Owens said. The post was authorized by a 2001 bill creating 24 new district judgeships around the state to help deal with a growing caseload in the state courts.

Gannett said Monday he is “psyched” to begin the judgeship. However, before overseeing district court cases as an Eagle County judge, Gannett had some misgivings.

“It was something four years ago I wouldn’t have anticipated,” Gannett said. “I didn’t want to be a district court judge. But early on I tried it on and found out to my amazement I enjoyed it.”

As a county judge, Gannett was responsible for deciding whether there was enough evidence of a sexual assault to order a district court trial for Kobe Bryant. Gannett ruled prosecutors had presented just enough evidence to justify a trial, but he said the case appeared to have numerous problems.

“It was a huge immersion into very well, highly-litigated issues,” Gannett said. “It was a case that had more involvement from more people than I’ve ever had and more than I probably will have.”

On the eve of trial in September 2004, the hotel worker who accused the Los Angeles Lakers star of rape decided against further participation in the case, and prosecutors were forced to dismiss the charges.

Gannett served as an Eagle County judge from 1990-94, and again from 2002-06. He also has served as a municipal judge in Basalt and Vail, and city attorney for Aspen. He was a Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy from 1977-83.

Gannett, who will earn $110,255 per year, will serve a provisional two-year term before he is required to stand for retention for a full six-year term.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Vail, Colorado

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