Last updated: October 16, 2013
What's not to like about the Mile High City? Denver is at once both a thriving metropolitan area and a region associated with parks, recreation, and a healthy lifestyle. All of that can make for a peaceful existence, a mile-high above the fray. But in reality, we have legal issues in Colorado too. Denver being the capital, is at the center of Colorado's legal system. As a consequence we have numerous courts, both state and federal. But don't worry because here's a guide to help you find the court you need.
Colorado Court Systems
There are two basic categories of cases: (1) Criminal Cases and (2) Civil Cases. Criminal cases are those cases where the government is charging an individual with wrongful conduct, and if convicted, the defendant may have to go to jail. Civil cases are everything else. Cases are further divided according to which court may resolve the issues.
Denver's state courts handle most of our everyday legal matters and make up Colorado's 2nd Judicial District. Every case starts out in the District Court level. After the case is heard, a party may appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals and possibly the Colorado Supreme Court. Federal courts are much more limited in the cases they can hear. It's a good idea to talk to an attorney to find out which court is appropriate for your case.
Most civil matters are handled here. This grand building holds the city hall and several government offices. It is also the site of the Denver Probate Court. Be prepared to pay more than $10 to park in a lot around these parts. Try to schedule your visit for Tuesdays and Thursdays when the food trucks come out. See FindLaw's website for information on Denver-area legal resources and law.
This is a one-stop-shop for your criminal case. The Public Defender, District Attorney, and Denver County Probation officers are all here. If you're taking public transit, which is a good idea, take the Number 16 or 16L bus. It stops right in front of the building. See FindLaw for information on your criminal case.
This facility holds both the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. It sits a block from E. Colfax Avenue on the other side of Civic Center Park. Most trips to appellate courts are not all-day affairs. If you're visiting from the outside of the city, consider taking a tour of the nearby Colorado State Capitol.
This is one of the sites of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. It sits in Denver's "Federal District" and handles both civil and criminal federal cases. It is also your starting point if you are unsure of where to go or what to do in Denver's federal courts. Denver has two federal courthouses, but this is the location that features the Clerk's office and several resources for visitors.
The Rogers Courthouse is the older of the two Denver courthouses in the District of Colorado. Litigants come to this building for many pretrial matters.
This courthouse is the site of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. It's a truly gorgeous building. For a further appreciation of the building, and the justice for which it was named, read the General Services Administration's fact sheet on the two.