Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Monday, April 24, 2000
Amy Jewett Sampson
OWENS APPOINTS COATS TO COLORADO SUPREME COURT
DENVER – Governor Bill Owens today announced his first appointment to the Colorado Supreme Court. Nathan (Ben) B. Coats of Denver will serve as a justice replacing Justice Gregory Scott who resigned from the court on March 15.
"Ben Coats is widely respected throughout the legal community as a man of the highest intellect and integrity," said Gov. Owens. "His immense knowledge of the criminal justice system and his ability to understand and articulate complex legal principles is exceptional. He will be a tremendous asset to the state’s highest court."
Ben Coats serves as chief appellate deputy district attorney for the Second Judicial District, specializing in appellate practice and procedure and criminal law. Prior to joining the Denver District Attorney’s office in 1986, Coats served in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office as deputy attorney general from 1983 to 1986 and as assistant attorney general from 1978 to 1983. He also was an adjunct law professor at the University of Colorado School of Law in 1990.
Coats serves as the chair of the Colorado Supreme Court Criminal Rules Committee and is a member of the Governor’s Columbine Review Commission. He served as chief reporter for the Erickson Commission from 1996 to 1997. The commission is responsible for evaluating and recommending changes to the procedures for investigating and making charging decisions in cases of police-involved shootings.
Coats’ current law practice consists primarily of criminal and civil rights appeals. He has represented the State of Colorado in more than 150 appeals in Colorado’s two appellate courts. He received his juris doctorate from the University of Colorado School of Law.
The annual salary for a Colorado Supreme Court justice is $95,090 for FY 2000 and $99,986 for FY 2001. A total of seven justices sit on the state’s highest court for an initial term of two years, after which the incumbent must stand for retention to serve an additional 10 years.
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