William Blair Sylvester
|William Blair Sylvester|
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|Current Court Information:|
|Colorado Eighteenth Judicial District|
|Past position:||18th Judicial District Attorney's Office|
|Past position 2:||Attorney in private practice|
|Undergraduate:||University of Maryland, 1973|
|Law School:||University of Georgia, 1976|
|Military service:||U.S. Army|
William Blair Sylvester was the chief judge of the Colorado Eighteenth Judicial District Court. He began serving on the court on August 1, 2001, and he became chief judge in October of 2006. Sylvester officially retired on July 1, 2014 and Carlos Armando Samour, Jr. has been named to replace him as chief judge of the court by Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice.
- 2006-2014: Chief justice, Eighteenth Judicial District Court
- 2001-2006: Judge, Eighteenth Judicial District Court
- 1991-2001: Attorney, Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney's Office
Prior to January 1991, Sylvester was an attorney in private practice.
- Main article: Colorado judicial elections, 2010
Colorado movie theater shooting
Sylvester presided over the case of James Holmes, who was accused of opening fire on an audience at a Colorado movie theater on July 20, 2012. Holmes faced over 160 counts of murder and attempted murder. 12 people were killed and 58 were wounded during the shooting spree.
Holmes' first court appearance was on July 23, 2012. At the hearing, he was informed of his constitutional rights. The prosecution requested and was granted more time to complete their investigation and officially charge Holmes. At the time, the prosecution noted they could seek the death penalty in the case.
On August 14, 2012, Judge Sylvester denied a motion filed by news organizations to open the court's records on Holmes. Sylvester also kept a gag order in place, in order to protect the ongoing investigation.
At a hearing on March 12, 2013, attorneys for the defendant told the judge they were not prepared to enter a plea. At the time, it was believed the defense would enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. They requested more time to prepare their case, but could not give a specific date when they might be ready to enter a plea. However, in order to move the case along, Sylvester entered a simple not guilty plea on behalf of Holmes and set a trial date for August 5.
Sylvester recused himself from the case in April 2013 and named Carlos Armando Samour, Jr. to take over as judge.
- Courts in Colorado
- Colorado District Courts
- Judicial selection in Colorado
- News: Gag order remains in place for Colorado shooting case, August 14, 2012
- News: Judge Sylvester presides over first court appearance of suspected Colorado theater shooter, July 23, 2012
- Law Week Colorado, "New Chief Judge Appointed In 18th District," May 8, 2014
- Judicial Branch, State of Colorado, "Courts, Courts by District, 18th Judicial District Homepage, 18th Judicial District Judges and Staff," accessed May 12, 2014
- Colorado Secretary of State, "Election Results Archive, 2010, Colorado Cumulative Report, Official Results - General Election, William Blair Sylvester of the 18th Judicial District," updated May 12, 2011
- Law Week Colorado, Judicial Retention, Sheet 1," July 30, 2010
- State of Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation, "Judicial Performance Reviews 2010, Eighteenth Judicial District Judge, Honorable William Blair Sylvester," accessed May 12, 2014
- TIME News Feed, "Alleged Colorado Movie-Theater Shooter Makes First Court Appearance," July 23, 2012
- www.gantdaily.com, "Colorado shooter appears in court with orange-red dyed hair, daze look," July 23, 2012
- Catholic Online, "Cryptic Colorado shooter appears before judge," July 23, 2012
- NBC News, "Judge in James Holmes case: Gag order remains, most records remain sealed," August 13, 2012
- USA Today, "Judge enters not guilty plea for Holmes, sets Aug. 5 trial date," March 12, 2013
- The New York Times, "Not Guilty Plea Is Entered in Colorado Mass Shooting," March 12, 2013
- LA Times, "New judge, trial date for James Holmes in death penalty case," April 1, 2013