Rachel Olguin-Fresquez, former Eagle County judge, transitions to 5th Judicial District court

Judge has filled Russell Granger’s place since his Nov. 1 retirement

Ash Lohmann
Vail Daily
Judge Rachel Olguin-Fresquez will preside over Colorado's 5th Judicial District. Olguin-Fresquez began her new position on Nov. 1.
Special to the Daily

On Oct. 25, Gov. Jared Polis appointed the newest judge of the 5th Judicial District. Presiding over Clear Creek, Summit, Lake and Eagle counties, Rachel Olguin-Fresquez has filled Judge Russell Granger’s seat on the bench following his Nov. 1 retirement. 

Olguin-Fresquez has years of experience working within the 5th Judicial District prior to taking the district court bench at the beginning of the month. She worked as the deputy district attorney from 1999 to 2006 and served as a judge on the Clear Creek County Court from 2006 to 2018. 

She then made her way to the Eagle County Court in 2018, where she worked until beginning her current tenure at the district court.

According to the Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation, Olguin-Fresquez met all standards based on 5th Judicial District commission criteria while she was working as an Eagle County judge. Her satisfactory performance review prompted her Eagle County Court retention in 2020. 

“Judge Olguin-Fresquez received consistently positive reviews in her surveys from attorneys and non-attorneys,” the performance evaluation read. “She is proud to serve, truly enjoys her work and strives to improve her performance by participating in continuing education and keeping current with changes in the laws.”

Before taking the bench, Olguin-Fresquez was a teacher. While studying at the University of Colorado in Boulder, she said her primary professional interest was in child welfare. She received her degree in sociology and a certificate in Colorado Elementary Teaching. After three years of teaching, Olguin-Fresquez returned to school to study law at the Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans. 

The judge said she decided to practice law in order to open more doors for herself in the future. She said she knew studying law would still give her a chance to promote child welfare and was eager to continue ensuring children get the support and security they deserve. When she became a judge, Olguin-Fresquez said her role shifted away from advocacy and toward leadership. 

“You are applying the rules to make sure children are being kept safe, make sure children are receiving the services they need,” she said. “So, it’s a slightly different role than maybe what I thought of back when I was getting my undergraduate degree, but I think the district court does offer you that chance to work for the welfare of children and families.”

Olguin-Fresquez looks forward to continuing to assist people in finding success at the district court level, she said. She noted that the same core value and motivation of community welfare naturally carries from her county court judgeship to the district court judgeship.  

“The transition has been really good,” Olguin-Fresquez said. “You know, it’s been a learning curve, but I’m enjoying it so far.”

The transitional period is ongoing. Olguin-Fresquez said that it will likely be a while until there are “four judges in four courtrooms,” so thus far, her caseload has not been standard.  

Despite these transitions happening in the courts, Olguin-Fresquez said that she and everyone working within the courts is happy to help the community. She said she hopes people understand that if they need the courts, resources are available to make the process less intimidating. 

“We’re always working to make sure people feel comfortable coming into court,” Olguin-Fresquez said. “We often are seeing people in their most traumatic events, they’re stressed, you know, it’s a scary process. I really just think all of us are working toward making sure people know that if you have an issue, if you have a problem that you’re not able to solve without someone kind of stepping in, the court in this instance, that we really are working toward people feeling like they have access to the court and feel comfortable coming into the courts.”

For more information about Olguin-Fresquez or any of the other judges on the 5th Judicial District bench, visit the Colorado Judicial Branch site.

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