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Three finalists selected for El Paso County judge vacancy

March 15, 2017 Updated: March 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm
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Two prosecutors and an El Paso County magistrate are in the running for a spot on the El Paso County bench.

The Colorado Judicial Department on Wednesday announced the three finalists to replace El Paso County Judge Jonathan Walker, who retired last month amid an investigation into charges of on-the-job misconduct.

The finalists are: Shannon Gerhart, a chief deputy district attorney in the 4th Judicial District; Samuel Evig, a prosecutor in the 18th Judicial District, comprising Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties; and Jessica Curtis, a former deputy state public defender who now serves as an El Paso County magistrate.

Finalists were selected by the Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has 15 days from March 15 to select one of the nominees.

Walker, a nine-year veteran of the county bench, retired Feb. 15 rather than face disciplinary proceedings before a state commission. He had been on paid suspension since Nov. 8.

He was accused of disrespectful conduct toward three female judicial employees; retaliating against a witness who was interviewed as part of an ensuing investigation; improperly modifying plea agreements; and failing to recuse himself from cases involving his personal attorney.

A representative of the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel declined to provide further details, saying specific allegations are confidential by law unless action is taken. Walker had been scheduled for a hearing into the allegations when he announced his retirement.

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