Montrose Assistant City Attorney Appointed to Judgeship
by Kati O'Hare
Aug 26, 2012 | 2156 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NEWLY APPOINTED Montrose County Courts Judge Bennet "Ben" Morris. (Photo by Joel Blocker)

NEWLY APPOINTED Montrose County Courts Judge Bennet "Ben" Morris. (Photo by Joel Blocker)

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MONTROSE – Bennet "Ben" Morris has been a prosecuting attorney for Montrose's municipal courts and advised the city on legal matters for almost a decade, but next month, he'll take on a much different role as Montrose County Court judge.

"I'm very excited about it," Morris said in an interview with The Watch last week. "It's been a personal and professional goal of mine for many years."

Morris was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Aug. 10, following the resignation of Jerry Montgomery.

Morris graduated with honors from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He then went onto to get a Juris Doctor from the University of Idaho College of Law. In the spring of 2003, he started working for Land Title Guarantee in Denver, but continued to search for jobs on the Western Slope, and found an opening with the City of Montrose.

As senior assistant city attorney, Morris works closely with the city attorney on almost all matters that confront the city, and about 35 percent of his duties include prosecuting criminal, traffic and code violations in municipal court.

"I've really enjoyed working in the city organization and with the Montrose community," he said. "If it wasn't for that support, I wouldn't have been appointed."

He'll use his experience at the city, and the challenges that come with it, in his new profession.

"I think the hardest thing about being a prosecutor is that there are always competing demands from different parties to the case," he said. "Balancing those, and making a decision that is not only legally correct, but also fair, is sometimes very challenging. My sympathies as a judge will be focused on fairness; I do not come to this with a bias for or against either side in criminal matters. I can certainly appreciate the defense's prospective, as well as that of law enforcement, the prosecution and the victims."

Morris is expected to start as a county judge at the beginning of September.

The Montrose City Council and staff will have discussed whether or not to fill his position at the city during its Aug. 22 council meeting.

"Ben does a wonderful job and is one of the most fair and professional city attorneys I have every worked with," City Manager Bill Bell said. "He will be a wonderful judge and I'm so excited for him and wish him the best in this new endeavor."

Morris said he can't really say at this point how his judgeship may be different from his predecessor.

"I want to get to know the staff and understand the needs of the court before making any decisions on how the court should be operated," he said. "I've still got a lot to learn, but I'm very excited."



kohare@watchnewspapers.com

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