Denver Bar Association
September 2000
© 2000 The Docket and Denver Bar Association. All Rights Reserved.
All material from The Docket provided via this World Wide Web server is copyrighted by the Denver Bar Association. Before accessing any specific article, click here for disclaimer information.

New(er) Judges Profiled

We apologize for the delay profiling our newer judges. Here they are.

After almost two years in Denver County Court, Melvin Okamoto has experienced the ins and outs of traffic court, and now is learning the ropes in general session.

"I'm still new enough that something challenges me almost everyday. Being a judge has made me study many different areas of law that I've never dealt with before."

Spending five years as prosecutor in Greeley and 17 years as a magistrate of the Denver Juvenile Court, Okamoto was appointed to the bench in December 1998. His appointment was made more significant because he became the first Asian-American judge in county court in Colorado.

A Wyoming native, Okamoto received his bachelor's degree and J.D. from the University of Wyoming. Before attending law school, he joined the U.S. Army as an officer and served as a courier for the Pentagon, delivering secret documents all over the world.

When he's not in court, Okamoto can be found donating his time to the Asian Education Advisory Counsel. For fun, he enjoys traveling. He'll be going to Ireland in August.
Mary Celeste is one of the newest faces on the bench in the Denver County Court's traffic division.

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Celeste received her bachelor's degree from San Diego State University and her J.D. from California Western in San Diego, where she was the editor in chief of the school's international law journal. Before joining the bench, Celeste was a solo practitioner, specializing in personal injury cases.

"I'm enjoying being a judge," she said. "It's a new challenge in my legal career and I enjoy meeting new people."

In addition to practicing law, Celeste was a college professor at the DU College of Law, where she taught "Sexual Orientation and the Law." In 1998, she was the recipient of the American Association of Women Trailblazer Award, and in 1994, she received the Paul Hunter Award for her work in human rights with Amendment Two.

In her spare time she enjoys traveling to her summer home on Lake McConoughy in Nebraska, playing bridge and spending time with her three children and grandson.
Denver District Court Judge Sheila Rappaport was a prosector in the District Attorney's office before she was appointed judge.

In addition to criminal proceedings, Rappaport spent time during law school learning and practicing civil law in the legal department of the Empire Savings and Loan Association.

She was born in New York and graduated with an undergraduate degree and J.D. from DU.

She volunteers with many committees, boards and organ-izations, including the CWBA, Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Association for Counsel of Children, CBA Family Violence Task Force and Denver Public Schools tutoring program.

She has presented lectures about child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, homicide investigation, jury selection, juvenile law, sexual assault and trial advocacy.

Reading crime, non-fiction and history novels are her favorite leisure activities besides spending time with her family.
Denver District Court Judge Martin Egelhoff has a long list of accomplishments.

He received both his undergraduate degree and J.D. from the University of Colorado. He was born in Denver and went to West High School.

Before serving on the bench, Egelhoff was a chief deputy district attorney for five years. Before that, he was an associate at Wood, Ris and Hames, and was a law clerk to Colorado Supreme Court Judge William Erickson.

Egelhoff was recognized for distinguished service to the District Attorneys Council in 1993 and was the recipient of the Council's Distinguished Faculty Award.

In addition to being a father, Egelhoff enjoys vacations, where he rides his bike for long distances. He has cycled through New England, Yellowstone National Park and Hawaii and along the Pacific Coast. He has even made cross-county treks from Seattle, Wash., to Williamsburg, Va., and from Mexico to Calgary, Canada.

Member Benefits DBA Governance Committees Public Interest The Docket Metro Volunteer Lawyers DBA Young Lawyers Division Legal Resource Directory DBA Staff The Docket