Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eighth Judicial District Gets New Chief Judge

A veteran trial judge has been appointed by the state's chief justice to serve as the top jurist in the Eighth Judicial District, which includes Jackson and Larimer counties.

Stephen Jon Schapanski of Fort Collins, who has been on the district court bench since 2007, was chosen by chief justice Mary J. Mullarkey to replace retired judge James H. Hiatt as chief judge.

Before taking on his current role as a district court judge, Schapanski was a magistrate for fourteen years in the same district. Before becoming a judge he was in private law practice since 1974. Schapanski's legal expertise was in the areas of domestic relations, civil, juvenile, criminal defense, probate, estate planning, bankruptcy and real estate law.

He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1971 and earned his law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana in 1974.

Colorado is divided into 22 judicial districts, each with a chief judge. The chief judge serves as the district's senior administrator, responsible for appointing the district administrator, chief probation officer and clerks of the court, assisting in the personnel, financial and case management of the district, and assuring that the business of the courts is conducted efficiently and effectively. A chief judge also makes judicial assignments within the district.