by Bonnie Scudder, Chair, Jefferson County Historical Commission Judges Wall Project
The Jefferson County Historical Commission, 1st Judicial District, and the Colorado Supreme Court Law Library celebrated the completion of Phase III of the Judges Wall, which features biographies of 73 additional judges who served in the 1st Judicial District between 1858 and 1970. The display includes judges from the Gold Rush Era (1858-1861), the Colorado Territorial Era (1861-1876), and the Election Era (1876-1967). Photographs accompanied biographies for the majority of these judicial officers. This display joins the 46 judges featured in the Merit Selection Era on the opposite wall, which was presented in December 2017.
The Judges Wall covers 159 years of judicial history. In addition to the judges, the display features three large sketches of early Jefferson County court houses by artist Carol Perricone, wife of retired Chief Judge Gaspar Perricone, a sketch of our current court house by Doyle Harrison, graphics designer, and an historical sketch of Gold Rush Justice, donated by the Gardner Family. In addition, several maps which include counties in the 1st Judicial District during different eras help demonstrate the evolution of the current 1st Judicial District. One map is a reproduction of an historical 1862 map of the Territory of Colorado, the first to show the 17 original counties (including Jefferson and Gilpin. This map was donated by Wes Brown and the Denver Public Library Western History Department.
Approximately 50 individuals attended the celebration. Chief Judge Philip McNulty was the first to speak and gave the “Welcome,” recognizing current judges, retired judges including Justice Brian Boatright, spouses, widows, including Joyce Jamison, children, grandchildren, and a great-grandchild, and other members of the judicial community. Cynthia Shaw, Chair of the Jefferson County Historical Commission spoke next, recognizing members of the JCHC and Jefferson County administrators in attendance, and explaining how this project aligns with the JCHC mission. Dan Cordova, who oversees the Colorado Supreme Court Law Library and has served on the Judges Wall Committee since its inception, introduced his staff who assisted on the project, and the members of the Judges Wall Committee. Bonnie Scudder introduced other individuals who have made significant contributions to the project, including Deborah Darnell of the Mountain Genealogists Society, Crystal Samms of the Gilpin County Library, and David Forsythe of the Gilpin County History Museum. She also spoke about the final phase which will include county judges from 7 or more counties that are no longer in Judicial District #1.
Members of the Judges Wall Committee are: Bonnie Scudder, Chair (JCHC), Rick Gardner (JCHC), Margaret Chapman (JCHC), Ronda Frazier, archivist (JCHC), Doyle Harrison, graphics designer (JCHC), Dennis Dempsey, planner (JCHC), and Dan Cordova (Colorado Supreme Court Law Library).