Summer Readin’: Tales from a Pueblo County Court Judge, 0919 COBJ, Vol. 48, No. 8 Pg. 4

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48 Colo.Law. 4

Summer Readin’: Tales from a Pueblo County Court Judge

Vol. 48, No. 8 [Page 4]

Colorado Lawyer

September, 2019

August, 2019



My wish for you is that you're having a productive summer, with some downtime to relax and enjoy the season. So here's what I hope will be a little light and fun end-of-summer reading—a series of thoughts and vignettes from my years on the bench. You'll not find any deep legal thinking here!

First Day Jitters

My first day as a Pueblo County Court judge was December 18,1995.1 was in my chambers, robe on, and ready to enter the courtroom for the first time. It was almost time for the busy 8:30 a.m. docket, so my courtroom was full of people. I confess I was a bit nervous. Just as I was about to go on the bench, the fire alarm sounded and everyone had to evacuate the building. My courtroom was on the third floor. Off came my robe and down the stairwell I went with well over 100 people. I hurried out the door and across the street onto the sidewalk with my colleagues, coworkers, and the general public to await directions on what to do next. This presented a welcome opportunity to have a quick visit with several friends. We weren't outside long when the all clear was given and we were told to go back into the building. The reason for the fire alarm that day? Someone had burned a piece of toast, and the smoke from the burnt toast had set off the fire alarm. Fortuitously, this incident helped quiet my nerves. I got on the bench and handled the docket more calmly, I am sure, than if there'd been no building evacuation. This was the first of what would be many building evacuations over the years. What an auspicious start to my judicial career!

Courtroom Decorum

I once went out on the bench to find that the deputy district attorney assigned to my courtroom had a happy face balloon tied to a chair at his table. Once again, the courtroom was full, as it was the 8:30 a.m. docket. I quickly called the deputy DA to the bench and asked him to join me in chambers. Then I calmly took a recess, and the two of us had a quick discussion about courtroom decorum. He walked out and removed the balloon, I returned to the bench, and we continued on as if this had never happened.

What's in a Name?

When I first became a judge, I asked the State Court Administrator's Office (SCAO) about changing my last name to Croshal. I was reluctant to change it, as I had been practicing under Hearn for about 14 years, and I wanted former clients to be able to find me. I had already changed my name once early in my career before I had much of a clientele. (Hearn is not my...

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