Gov. Polis appoints Jonathan Shamis of Leadville to 5th Judicial District bench |

Gov. Polis appoints Jonathan Shamis of Leadville to 5th Judicial District bench

Shamis was previously a Lake County judge and has deep connections to Eagle County

Johnathan Shamis of Leadville was recently appointed by Gov. Jared Polis to the 5th Judicial District bench.
Vail Daily file photo

Jonathan Shamis of Leadville has been appointed by Gov. Jared Polis to fill the Eagle County vacancy in the 5th Judicial District Court following the retirement of Judge Mark Thompson.

Shamis was previously a Lake County judge and upon his appointment to the 5th Judicial District Court, a vacancy within the Lake County Court appeared on Feb. 9. The 5th Judicial District Nominating Commission is now accepting applications to fill the Lake County Court vacancy through March 1. On March 10, the commission will interview and select the final nominees for appointment to the Lake County Court. 

Courtney Holm of Edwards was the other finalist for the open district court bench seat.

As he transitions from the Lake County Court to the 5th Judicial Court bench in Eagle County, Shamis said he will carry the same values he had throughout his professional life. One major value, he explained, is in boosting local and neighboring communities one person at a time. 

Within his Lake County role, Shamis taught within Colorado Mountain College’s paralegal program, acted as chair of the Mental Health Subcommittee of the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Education, acted as co-chair of the Judicial Wellness Subcommittee of the Colorado Task Force on Attorney Wellness. He also sat on committees such as the Bridges Mental Health Program Statewide Steering Committee, the Colorado State Mental Health Diversion Program Funding Allocation Committee, the Colorado Collaborative Justice Courts Training and Educational Subcommittee, and the Rural Justice Collaborative. 

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Additionally, Shamis served as a commissioner on the Colorado Suicide Prevention Commission and served on Polis’ Competency Task Force. He was a chairman of the Board of Cloud City Conservation Center and a board member of the Lake County Community Fund. From 2018 to 2019, he also served as the president of the Colorado County Judges Association. 

While many of his professional endeavors have included efforts to advocate for mental health within Colorado courts, Shamis said he has worked closely with the Hope Center in Eagle County and hopes to continue doing so in his new role. 

In his time working within the Lake County Court, Shamis said he made waves through programs such as his pilot program, which encourages more diversity within legal representation. The pilot program operates out of the 5th and 9th Judicial Districts and specifically aims to attract Latino attorneys to allow the demographics of the local legal community to better reflect the community. 

“(The pilot program) was so successful,” Shamis said. “There are several other judicial districts that are following in our path, so I’m really proud of that.”

Another program Shamis helped spearhead during his Lake County tenure was the concierge program. which allowed for Lake County residents to come into the courthouse for help with any problems they had. Whether the problems were court-involved or not, people were welcome to come into the courthouse and get help in whatever ways court concierges were able to provide it. Namely, Shamis said the concierge program can help Lake County community members find assistance amid housing pressures. 

Shamis said he hopes to deepen and expand the roots he already has in Eagle County. 

Before he became a judge, Shamis practiced law in Avon for about 25 years. While his most recent position was in Leadville, Shamis said his Eagle County connections and passion are still going strong. 

However, his time elsewhere — such as on the Lake County court bench — allowed him to expand his horizons and connect to other communities he now presides over.

“I care deeply about this community, the entire district,” Shamis said. 

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