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County Court

By statute, county courts handle civil cases under $15,000, misdemeanors, traffic infractions, felony complaints (which are then sent to district court), protection orders, and small claims.

Misdemeanor charges include: DUI, assault, child abuse, theft, violation of protective orders, among others.

County court matters can be handled without a lawyer, with private counsel or appointed public defenders.

Misdemeanor matters normally face up to one year in jail and defendants have a right to a jury trial.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The County Court Divisions handle all of the misdemeanor and traffic violations
  • Arapahoe County has six criminal county courts averaging 850 cases per court division
  • Douglas County has two criminal county courts averaging 540 cases per court division
  • The 18th Judicial District has the fewest number of county court divisions yet handles some of the largest numbers of criminal cases in the metro area.

STAFFING

Arapahoe: There are six courtrooms which handle criminal and traffic matters to which the office is assigned. There are two prosecutors assigned to each of the six county courtrooms with a Senior Deputy and Chief Deputy overseeing the matters. In addition, the office handles all matters coming through courtroom 101. This is staffed by four interns and one attorney. Courtroom 101 handles all minor traffic matters and the first appearance matters for county court.

Douglas: The two courtrooms handle a diversified criminal docket of misdemeanor and traffic violations. There are two attorneys per courtroom with a Chief Deputy overseeing all of the courts. There are also three interns who handle the FAC or first appearance court, handling new filings and bond settings.

The Chief Deputies for both counties supervise all the prosecutors, interns, investigators and staff for their respective counties. They also work with law enforcement, the courts, probation and the defense on relevant issues.

Elbert and Lincoln: One prosecutor is assigned in each county to cover the entire criminal docket, including district, county misdemeanor, county traffic and juvenile court.

2015 COMPARATIVE COUNTY COURT STAFFINGS AND FILINGS

POPULATION #DA #MISD #TRAF TOTAL #JUDGES
Adams 480,718 18 5,712 15,588 21,300 8
El Paso 663,519 16 8,533 16,317 24,850 10
Jefferson 558,503 12 6,091 11,590 17,681 9
Arapahoe 618,812 15 4,455 15,393 19,848 7
Douglas 314,638 5 2,332 5,671 8,003 3
Arapahoe + Douglas 933,450 20 6,787 21,064 27,851 10

ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS

Arapahoe County has the oldest age of case numbers among all judicial districts in the state. This is caused by the large number of cases per division when compared to other counties. There are fewer attorneys and courtrooms to handle these cases in an efficient manner.

Arapahoe County and its growing population would benefit from two additional county court divisions. This would put Arapahoe County on par with Jefferson and Adams Counties, which are growing at a slower rate than Arapahoe County,and as such do not face the same age of case issues this county does.