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November 16, 2006 - Colorado Judicial Institute Honors Excellence

What: Fourth Annual Judicial Excellence for Colorado Dinner

Where: Marriott City Center

When: November 16, 2006

Time: 6 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $95 Judges and state employees, $125 individual ticket

Beneficiary: Colorado Judicial Institute

Host(s): Gale T. Miller - Board Chair - Colorado Judicial Institute

Presenting Sponsor(s): Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP

Co-Chair(s): Patty Cordova & Gordon Butz

Executive Director: Becky Miller Updike

Committee Members: M. Gordon Butz, Patty Cordova, Elinor M. Greenberg, Sheila M. Gutterman, Hon. Robert J. Kapelke, Gale T. Miller, Dana M. Nelson, Constance C. Talmage, Ralph G. Torres

Staff: Dana Nelson

Welcome: Gale T. Miller - Board Chair, CJI

Speaker: Honorable Thomas R. Phillips

Libations: Gallo Wine

Catering: Marriott City Center

Sponsors: Platinum: Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP Gold: Arnold & Porter LLP, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, Faegre & Benson LLP, Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, Holland & Hart LLP, Holme Roberts & Owen LLP, Patten, MacPhee & Associates, Inc., Thomson West

Quote of the evening: “Colorado values its judicial independence,” stated Becky Miller Updike, Executive Director of CJI.

Attendance: 443

Special Thanks: Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, Gallo Family Vineyards, IKON Office Solutions, Thomson West

Board of Directors: visit

Blacktie Photos by: Lisa Harris

 Judge Thomas R. Phillips - Keynote speaker, left, with Gale T. Miller - CJI Board Chair and Laurence De Muth Jr. - CJI Board member
Judge Thomas R. Phillips - Keynote speaker, left, with Gale T. Miller - CJI Board Chair and Laurence De Muth Jr. - CJI Board member

Outstanding Justices receive impressive honors


The significance of the number 40 was a central theme at the Colorado Judicial Institute’s Fourth Annual Judicial Excellence for Colorado dinner.



There were 40 senior and current judges in presence, as a result of Colorado's merit system. There was standing applause for the significance of the Colorado voters voting No on amendment 40.  Amendment 40 would have retroactively placed term limits on all Colorado appellate judges. The Colorado Judicial Institute (CJI) worked tirelessly to advocate the importance of the merit system and the voters showed their support.  Colorado values its judicial independence,” stated Becky Miller Updike, Executive Director of CJI.


The event was held at the Denver Marriott City Center on November 16th. 


The Colorado Judicial Institute (CJI) is an independent and nonpartisan citizen’s group devoted to the excellence and independence of Colorado courts.  Established in 1979, CJI was originally formed to preserve Colorado’s judicial merit selection system.  Its mission has broadened to include public education about the judiciary, support for judicial education, recognition of judicial excellence, and collaboration with the public, the legislature and the judiciary to improve Colorado’s courts.  CJI is organized into committees to carry out its work.


 The evening honored three outstanding judges for the Judicial Excellence in 2006.


District Court Judge, the Honorable C. Dennis Maes of the 10th District was noted for his innovative and positive changes to the district.  He created a position for a family court facilitator/case manager to shepherd cases of juvenile delinquency, dependency, neglect, and domestic relations to a timely conclusion, resulting in a delay reduction of 30%.

Magistrate, the Honorable Louis A. Gresh of the 18th Judicial District was noted for being active in the community.  He was described as always being “efficient, expedious, and objective” in managing domestic cases that were ever rife with high drama and conflict.


County Court Judge, the Honorable Lynn J. Karowsky of Weld County is remarkably well respected by his peers, court personnel, members of the bar and litigants.  Also committed to the community, he taught law at the University of Northern Colorado and chaired the Monfort Executive Professor Program. He has been named the Professor of the Year for the business department three times.  

The 2006 Judicial Independence Award went to Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis.  Judge Kourlis' impressive resume includes head of the new Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System based at the University of Denver.  She was additionally recognized as an individual who has shown outstanding dedication to judicial independence.  As stated by former CJI Board Chair Richard Gabriel “..there is no jurist who has better represented everything that CJI strives for than the Honorable Rebecca Love Kourlis.”


Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey, who received a standing ovation, expressed the importantance of the educational aspects of CJI.


The Honorable Thomas R. Phillips, retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and current partner of Baker Botts LLP, closed the evening with his keynote speech focusing on the importance of a good and safeguarded system of justice.


For more information on CJI visit



















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