Polis Appoints Judges in 17th and 14th Districts

MaryAnn Vielma and Brittany Schneider fill judgeships

Gov. Jared Polis on July 17 announced the appointments of MaryAnn Vielma to the Adams County Court in the 17th Judicial District and Brittany Schneider to the Moffat County Court in the 14th Judicial District.

Vielma is a county court and district court magistrate in the 17th District, a position she has held since 2018. Previously, Vielma was an assistant county attorney for Adams County, senior deputy district attorney and deputy district attorney in the 17th Judicial District and a law clerk in the 17th Judicial District. Vielma received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, El Paso and a law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

The judgeship was created by the retirement of Judge Dianna Roybal.

Schneider is a deputy district attorney with the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Previously, Schneider was an assistant public defender with the Wyoming Office of the Public Defender, adjunct instructor at Eastern Wyoming College, attorney in private practice, deputy district attorney in Glenwood Springs, personal banker with Wells Fargo and staff attorney at P. Scott Lowery. Schneider received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado –Colorado Springs and a law degree from the University of Oregon.

This judgeship was created by the retirement of Judge Sandra Gardner, and is effective Aug. 1.


The 7th Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet via videoconference Aug. 27 and the 14th Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet via videoconference on Aug. 28 to interview nominees for appointment to district judgeships in both districts. The 14th District vacancy will be created by the retirement of Judge Shelley Hill on Jan. 12. The 7th District vacancy will be created by the resignation of Judge Jin Ho Pack, occurring on Jan. 12.

Applications are available on the court’s home page at www.courts.state.co.us/Careers/Judge.cfm.

For both positions, applications must be submitted by 4 p.m. Aug. 13. Any person wishing to suggest a candidate to fill the vacancy may do so by 4 p.m. Aug. 6.

The members of the nominating commission for the 14th Judicial District are: James Osborne of Craig; Harper Louden, Matthew Tjosvold, Randall Salky, Ryan Dougherty, and Lulu Gould, all of Steamboat Springs; and Sandra Doudna of Grand Lake.

The members of the nominating commission for the 7th Judicial District are: Leah Gates of Ridgway; William Masters of Telluride; Eric McPhail of Gunnison; Anna Cooling of Montrose; Cynthia Dozier of Lake City; Bradley Harding of Paonia; and Aaron Huckstep of Crested Butte.


Fox Rothschild attorney Edgar Barraza was selected by the Colorado Lawyers Committee to serve as a delegate for the Colorado Bar Association and Colorado Judicial Institute’s Diversity on the Bench Coalition.

The CBA/CJI coalition is a joint initiative that will lead a community-wide effort to address a lack of diversity among Colorado state court judges. The mission is for Colorado’s state court bench to reflect the diversity of the state’s population.

Barraza joins a robust roster of legal leaders in the region who will work together to create and implement an action plan that will promote diversity.

Rita (Ruta) Sanzgiri, a partner with Sheridan Ross whose practice focuses on intellectual property in life sciences, in particular patents in the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals areas, has been elevated to chair of the Colorado Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section. 

Sanzgiri will be responsible for ensuring that the section continues its mission of promoting the exchange of information about new or proposed developments in the IP field and facilitating interactions among the section members and the public, while following the new social distancing norms of the post-COVID world

The IP section committee will host programs and events in the IP field to address developments in patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and antitrust law, as well as pertinent ethics issues.

Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe announced Wednesday Elizabeth Woodward has been named a director and shareholder.

Woodward is a real estate and environmental law attorney. She represents individuals, businesses, and special districts in navigating the complexities of real estate purchases and management and environmental compliance and due diligence.  She advises clients along the entire spectrum of real estate ownership from acquisition, development, and leasing, to the sale and liquidation of assets. Further, she advises prospective, current, and past landowners regarding contamination, including the purchase and sale of contaminated properties, and other environmental due diligence matters.

Prior to joining Ireland Stapleton, Woodward practiced law at the Washington, D.C., firm, Wiley Rein, where she counseled clients on a range of environmental, health and safety-related regulatory matters related to compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and state and local agency laws, regulations, and policies. 

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