Naves grew up in Birmingham and attended Ullman High School where he played tenor saxophone in the school band. His guidance counselor was John Rice, the father of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who helped him get accepted to the University of Denver.
After graduating from Denver, Naves went on to earn a law degree from the University of Colorado and then begin his legal career as a criminal defense lawyer. It was then that he met and married television reporter Bertha Lynn, now an anchor.
In May 2006 Naves was appointed by Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey to preside over Denver's 24 district judges.
Naves and Lynn have three children, Andrew, Maria Jo and Elliott.
- Wilstach, Nancy (July 16, 2006) "City native Naves leads Denver courts." Birmingham News.