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This court is of limited jurisdiction. It has concurrent jurisdiction with District Court in civil actions in which the debt, damage or value of personal property claimed does not exceed $15,000. Small claims are up to $7,500. The County Court also handles criminal cases involving traffic violations, game and fish violations and misdemeanors.
Delta County has one (1) judge who may be any qualified elector residing in the county. Applicants must go through the same process described for district court judges. The job of county court judge is considered to be part time, and the judge, if an attorney, can continue in private practice. If a case comes up where there is a conflict of interest, a judge from another county presides.
The combined courts of District and County have one (1) clerk and one (1) budget for both. The state pays these costs. Personnel are hired by the state based on state examinations.
In a criminal case at the county level, if probable cause is found, the case is bound over to District Court. If the person is not satisfied with the decision of the County Court, an appeal may be filed to the District Court.
Jurors are selected by computer in Denver from lists of driver’s licenses, voter registration, telephones and ownership of property. Anyone age 18 and over who is a resident of the county can be summoned for jury duty from these lists. For more information on jury service, see the links above.
Delta County is part of the Seventh Judicial District, which includes Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. The six (6) counties are served by three (3) district court judges and one (1) district attorney.
District Court is a trial court of general jurisdiction. It has original jurisdiction over domestic relations, civil, juvenile, probate, mental health and criminal cases.
The Colorado Constitution provides for nonpartisan selection of judges. District and county judge candidates submit an application to the Supreme Court, which then sends the qualified applications to a nonpartisan nominating committee in the district. The district nominating committee interviews each qualified applicant and sends three (3) names to the governor for consideration. The governor makes the appointment for a provisional term of two (2) years, after which the electorate determines whether the judge will remain in office. Subsequent terms are for six (6) years with the electorate determining whether to retain the judge after each term. District court judges are not allowed to practice law during their terms.