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Cortez gets new municipal court judge

Beth Padilla was sworn in as a Cortez Municipal Court judge on Nov. 18.
Beth Padilla wants to bring a new perspective to court

Beth Padilla was sworn in as a Cortez Municipal Court judge on Nov. 18 after being appointed at a Nov. 9 City Council meeting, according to a city news release.

She replaces James Shaner.

“I hope to bring perhaps a different view to the bench,” Padilla told The Journal. “I’d like to balance rehabilitation with community safety, which is a difficult balance to strike with the resources available through municipal court.”

Padilla, a native of a small town in Indiana, Padilla moved to Colorado for law school at the University of Denver.

She’s been at home in the West ever since, and in 2014 moved to Southwest Colorado with her husband, Paul.

They own Padilla Law in Mancos.

“I'm committed to Montezuma County,” she said. “We've built our lives here. Our law firm is here. And I’m dedicated to doing what's best for the people of Montezuma County and for the city of Cortez.”

With more than 10 years of experience in law, Padilla is licensed in Colorado and New Mexico, and she feels prepared for her new job.

Cortez City Clerk Linda Smith swears in Beth Padilla in as Cortez Municipal Court judge on Nov. 18.

Although the pandemic has challenged courts, Padilla is optimistic about the future.

“It has caused some delay for some people, but things are getting back to normal compared to where they have been in the past year and a half,” She said. “We are having court in person. The jail is accepting individuals. I think it’s getting better.”

Padilla is current president of the Four Corners Bar Association.

Her career has taken her before the Colorado Court of Appeals, and, in her formative years, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for an internship at an international law firm. She also has studied in Mexico, Peru and Spain.

She’s fluent in English and Spanish, and she’s drawn to the outdoors. In Indiana, she participated in 4-H for 10 years; here, she enjoys mountain biking and big game hunting.

Court proceedings take place once a week at 9 a.m. on Mondays at the Cortez Municipal Court, 123 Roger Smith Ave.

The court sees nearly 1,000 cases per year, the city news release said.

For information about the court, contact Court Administrator Carla Odell at 970-565-7952 or codell@cortezco.gov.