RICHARD L. GABRIEL, JUDGE.
Our Courts, a joint activity of the Colorado Bar Association and the Colorado Judicial Institute, was founded in 2007 with a mission of providing nonpartisan informational programs to adult audiences to further public knowledge and understanding of the state and federal courts in Colorado. Supported by a number of partner organizations, including the CBA, Our Courts has become a national model for adult education on matters related to the judiciary. Tis article provides a brief introduction to the Our Courts program, including how the program originated, current activities, and upcoming projects and initiatives.
The Genesis of Our Courts
Our Courts was born in the aftermath of Amendment 40, the unsuccessful 2006 ballot initiative that sought to term limit Colorado’s appellate judges. Among its many lessons, the campaign regarding Amendment 40 revealed how little most Coloradans know about our court system, and specifically about how our judges are selected and retained. Coloradans also seemed to know little about their own significant roles in the state court processes for selecting and retaining judges.
Chief Judge Marcia Krieger of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado and Judge Russ Carparelli, then a Colorado Court of Appeals Judge and now a senior judge on that court, recognized that adult Coloradans had few places from which to obtain nonpartisan information on how courts work. So, Judges Krieger and Carparelli recruited their friend and noted Colorado educator Dr. Ellie Greenberg to explore the development of a program to educate adult audiences regarding Colorado’s federal and state courts. They took their idea to the Colorado Judicial Institute and the CBA, and the two organizations agreed to support their efforts.
Following these discussions, like-minded lawyers and judges joined the effort to develop the program. Together with Judges Krieger and Carparelli, Judge Steve Bernard of the Colorado Court of Appeals created Our Courts’ first presentation...