On Thursday, September 29, 2022, The Denver Gazette reported that the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline said that the Colorado Court of Appeals should not preside over any disciplinary matter that would involve a sitting or retired Supreme Court justice.

In a 10-page letter to the Interim Committee on Judicial Discipline, the commission stated that it would appear improper and could lead to conflicts of interest if judges from the Colorado Court of Appeals were given the entire authority to decide whether or not a Supreme Court justice is guilty of misconduct.

The letter reads:

“The collegial nature of the court is the reason for the imputed disqualification of the entire court. On a very fundamental level, there is an appearance of impropriety and conflicts of interest where judges who regularly work closely together are required to judge their own or one of their colleagues’ credibility and compliance with ethical standards.”

The commission also said that it is equally difficult to enable appellate court judges to fill in for the justices, especially when the matter at hand concerns a member of the higher court.

Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline Executive Director Christopher Gregory said that the risk of ongoing conflicts of interest is not fully addressed by creating a special supreme court made up of judges from the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Gregory added that:

“Like the Colorado Supreme Court, the Colorado Court of Appeals is a collegial court. Because the Court of Appeals is often a path to becoming a Colorado Supreme Court justice, there will be circumstances where a special supreme court composed entirely of Court of Appeals judges would be reviewing the conduct of a current or former colleague.”

The commission is recommending that no more than one appellate court member and one district court judge be included in any panel chosen to replace the Supreme Court.

Source: The Denver Gazette


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