Judge Charged with Felony Menacing Steps Down From Leadership Position

Judge Mark Thompson resigned as the 5th Judicial District’s chief judge, the Colorado Judicial Department announced. Thompson temporarily stepped away from the leadership role in October 2021 after he was charged with felony menacing. 


Thompson will remain a district court judge and handle civil cases, according to the Feb. 4 announcement, and Judge Paul Dunkelman will take over as the new chief judge. 

Dunkelman was appointed as interim chief judge for the district that covers Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit Counties after Thompson was charged with felony menacing with a real or simulated weapon and took administrative leave. The Judicial Department said Dunkelman would take over the leadership position “for an indeterminate amount of time” last year. 

Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Boatright appointed Dunkelman to chief judge of the 5th Judicial District. Dunkelman is now the permanent administrative head of the district and is responsible for appointing other leadership positions, assisting staff, financial and case management and ensuring the courts are effective and efficient. 

“Judge Dunkelman has done an exceptional job leading the 5th Judicial District through a very difficult time,” said Boatright in a statement. “I have no doubt Judge Dunkelman has the qualities and characteristics necessary to be a strong leader and I look forward to working with him.”

Dunkelman was appointed to the 5th Judicial District Court in 2013 and handles a mix of criminal, civil, juvenile and mental health cases. He worked in private practice for 20 years before joining the judicial department, most recently at Carlson, Carlson & Dunkelman, LLC in Frisco. Dunkelman is a University of Denver Sturm College of Law graduate. 

“I look forward to the challenge of this position and to helping the 5th Judicial District continue to meet the needs of the community in which we serve,” said Dunkelman. 

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