Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline
The Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline is a constitutionally mandated independent judicial disciplinary agency in Colorado. The Commission has jurisdiction over the conduct of judges and justices of the County Courts, and District Courts, Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court.
Composition of the Commission
- The judges are appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
- The lawyers must have practice law in the state for ten years. They are appointed by the Governor with consent of the Senate.
- The members of the public must not be current or former judges or lawyers. They are also appointed by the Governor with consent of the Senate.
- If a member's position is terminated in the middle of their term, a new member is appointed for the remainder of the term under under the same conditions as the original member.
- Special members may be appointed in circumstances when a member is disqualified to act.
The Commission appoints an Executive Director to manage the Commission's office and operations.
Members of the Commission
A current list of the members can be found on the Commission's website.
Case flow description
The standard case flow is as follows:
- A complaint is filled with or initiated by the Commission.
- The Executive Director of the Commission screens all complaints and dismisses any that are "frivolous, unfounded, solely appellate in nature, or outside the jurisdiction of the Commission."
- The Commission reviews the screened complaints and decides whether there is sufficient grounds for an investigation.
- The Commission authorizes the Executive Direct to initiate a preliminary investigation and notifies the judge of the complaint and investigation.
- If the preliminary investigation indicates there is a reasonable basis for the allegation, further investigation may be undertaken.
- After the investigation, the Commission may:
- Dismiss the complaint.
- Issue a private admonishment, reprimand, or censure.
- Defer the case while the judge seeks counseling, medical, or other such professional help.
- Issue a finding of probable cause to start formal proceedings.
- Formal proceedings involve a trial to address misconduct. Special Counsel issues the charges against the judges, and three Special Masters appointed by the Supreme Court preside over the hearing.
- Formal proceedings may result in:
- The dismissal of the case.
- Recommendations to the Supreme Court for removal, retirement, public reprimand, public censure, or other methods to stop the judicial misconduct.
The basic mandate of the commission is governed by Article VI, Section 23, of the Colorado Constitution.
Rules of Procedure
As of 2012, the Colorado Rules of Judicial Discipline are list as follows:
PART A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
- Rule 1. Scope, Objectives and Title
- Rule 2. Definitions
- Rule 3. Organization and Administration
- Rule 4. Jurisdiction and Powers
- Rule 5. Grounds for Discipline
- Rule 6. Confidentiality and Privilege [DELETED – now 6.5]
- Rule 6.5. Confidentiality and Privilege
- Rule 7. Notice of Action
- Rule 8. Service
- Rule 8.5. Procedural Rights of Judge
- Rule 9. Disqualification of an Interested Party
- Rule 10. Immunity
- Rule 11. Amendment of Rules
PART B. PRELIMINARY PROCEEDINGS
- Rule 12. Filing a Complaint
- Rule 13. Screening of Complaints
- Rule 14. Preliminary Investigation
- Rule 15. Independent Medical Examination
- Rule 16. Determination
- Rule 17. Disqualification of a Judge
PART C. FORMAL PROCEEDINGS
- Rule 18. Statement of Charges, Notice and Pleadings in Formal Proceedings
- Rule 18.5. Special Masters
- Rule 19. Response of Judge
- Rule 20. Setting for Hearing
- Rule 21. Discovery
- Rule 22. Subpoena and Inspection
- Rule 23. Witness Fees and Expenses
- Rule 24. Special Masters [DELETED – now 18.5]
- Rule 25. Prehearing Procedures
- Rule 26. Hearing
- Rule 27. Procedures and Rules
- Rule 28. Procedural Rights of Judge [DELETED – now in 8.5 and 33]
- Rule 29. Amendment to Pleadings
- Rule 30. Additional Evidence
- Rule 31. Standard of Proof
- Rule 32. Recommendation to Supreme Court
- Rule 33. Record of Proceedings
- Rule 33.5 Cases Involving Mental or Physical Disability
PART D. DISPOSITIONS AND SANCTIONS
- Rule 34. Temporary Suspension
- Rule 35. Dispositions
- Rule 36. Sanctions
- Rule 36.5 Conviction of a Crime
PART E. SUPREME COURT ACTION
- Rule 37. Certification and Notice
- Rule 38. Exceptions
- Rule 39. Additional Findings
- Rule 40. Decision
|1966||An initiated constitutional amendment provided for the Colorado Commission on Judicial Qualifications.|
|1982||A constitutional amendment renamed the Colorado Commission on Judicial Qualifications to the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline.|
|2002||A constitutional amendment deleted obsolete language from the constitutional provision regarding the Commission.|
|2010||The nine canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct were reorganized into four canons.|
|2012||The Supreme Court enacts a major revision to the Colorado Rules of Judicial Discipline.|
Code of Judicial Conduct
Below is the summary of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct. Full documentation is available at the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline's website.
|Canon 1: A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.|
|Canon 2: A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently.|
|Canon 3: A judge shall conduct the judge’s personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office.|
|Canon 4: A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary.|
Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline
1560 Broadway, Suite 1925
Denver, Colorado 80202
Phone: (303) 866-6434
Fax: (303) 861-6822
- ↑ Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, "Home"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, "About Us"
- ↑ Colorado Constitution, "Art. VI, Section 23"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, "2011 Annual Report"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure - Chapter 24, Colorado Rules of Judicial Discipline
- ↑ Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, "Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct July 1, 2010"