Nathaniel . Baca

22nd Judicial District
Hon. Nathaniel Baca was appointed to the Dolores County Court bench in 2020. Nathaniel originally went to law school to pursue an interest in human rights. During this time, he interned for the Prosecutor's Office for War Crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and volunteered with the ACLU. These opportunities helped Nathaniel to see some of the bigger issues that we face in the criminal justice system and sparked an interest in public defense. Following law school, Nathaniel spent two years working at the Public Defender's office in New Mexico and then moved to Denver where he continued to provide criminal defense as a private practitioner. In this role, Nathaniel benefited greatly from the guidance of more seasoned attorneys at the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar. With this assistance, Nathaniel was able to find a niche for himself by defending individuals on a sliding scale basis. Eventually, Nathaniel made his way back to public defense at the Office of the Municipal Public Defender in Denver. In this role, Nathaniel had the privilege to work for the Chief Municipal Public Defender Alice Norman, who helped Nathaniel understand the nuances of criminal defense in Denver and the importance of understanding people's situations outside of the case. At the same time, Nathaniel had the opportunity to spend extended time in front of Judge Espinosa, Judge Spahn, and Judge Faragher, who inspired Nathaniel to look for areas where he could improve his own practice and the practice of law generally. This inspiration eventually led Nathaniel to the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System where he had the opportunity to work with the legal community, under the guidance of Justice Kourlis, to take steps toward improving the legal system. Eventually Nathaniel returned to private practice where he conducted research on a contract basis to help identify the needs of Coloradoans and how we can work to decrease the barriers that people face in their lives and in the legal system.