William Blair Sylvester

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William Blair Sylvester
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Current Court Information:
Colorado Eighteenth Judicial District
Title:   Judge
Active:   2001-2016
Past position:   18th Judicial District Attorney's Office
Past term:   1991-2001
Personal History
Undergraduate:   University of Maryland, 1973
Law School:   University of Georgia, 1976

William Blair Sylvester is the Chief Judge of the Colorado Eighteenth Judicial District Court. He has served on this court since August 1, 2001 and he became the Chief Judge in October of 2006. He was retained in 2010 to a six year term that ends on December 31, 2016.[1][2]


Sylvester served in the U.S. Army before receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland in 1973. He then graduated from the University of Georgia with a law degree in 1976.[3]


Sylvester began his career as a general private practice lawyer. In January of 1991, he left that position to join the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office. He served there until his appointment to the District Court in 2001.[3]

2010 election

Sylvester was retained with 64.4% of the vote in 2010.[2][4]

Main article: Colorado judicial elections, 2010

Retention recommendation

Sylvester was recommended for retention by the Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation.[5]

  • Read Sylvester's Judicial Performance Review here.

Notable cases

Colorado movie theater shooter

March 12, 2013
Judge Sylvester was presiding over the case of James Holmes, who opened fire on a Colorado movie theater audience on July 20, 2012. He is facing over 160 counts of murder and attempted murder. 12 people were killed and 58 wounded during his shooting spree.[6][7]

Holmes's first court appearance was on July 23, 2012. At the hearing, he was informed of his constitutional rights and the prosecution requested and was granted more time to officially charge him. The death penalty may be an option the prosecution will pursue.[8]

On August 14, 2012, Judge Sylvester denied a legal motion by news organizations to open the court's records on Holmes. Sylvester said he will keep the gag order in place in order to protect the ongoing investigation.[9]

The defense will almost certainly argue that Holmes is not guilty on the basis of insanity. They were not able to enter such a plea by the time of a hearing on March 12, 2013 and asked the judge for more time. However, in order to move the case along, Judge Sylvester entered a simple not guilty plea on behalf of Holmes and set a trial date for August 5.[10][11]

Judge Sylvester excused himself from the trial in April 2013 and named Judge Carlos Armando Samour, Jr. to take over as judge.[12]

See also

External links


ColoradoColorado Supreme CourtColorado Court of AppealsColorado District CourtsColorado county courtsDenver Probate Court, ColoradoDenver Juvenile CourtUnited States District Court for the District of ColoradoUnited States Court of Appeals for the Tenth CircuitColorado countiesColorado judicial newsColorado judicial electionsJudicial selection in ColoradoColoradoTemplatewithoutBankruptcy.jpg