On Friday, May 17, 2024, Colorado Politics reported that several Colorado judges and justices spoke at two events earlier this month where they provided commentary on topics including professionalism, artificial intelligence, and key developments in the state judiciary.

At the events organized by the Colorado Bar Association’s continuing legal education program, Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright disclosed that he would swear in Justice Monica M. Márquez on July 26 to succeed him as the next Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. The chief justice position rotates every two years among the court’s seven justices according to a new system adopted in 2020.

Also speaking at the events was Chief Judge Gilbert M. Román of the Colorado Court of Appeals, who announced he had formally requested the state judiciary seek authorization from the legislature next year to expand the Court of Appeals by six judgeships. Judge Román said this request came in response to a recent workload study finding the caseload justified adding more judges to the court for the first time in 15 years.

On the topic of ethics and professionalism, Justice Richard L. Gabriel cautioned lawyers to avoid taking the bait if opposing counsel behaves unprofessionally. He advised responding by sticking strictly to the facts and law instead of accusing the other side. Court of Appeals Judge Ted C. Tow III noted family law cases often involve attorneys strongly empathizing with clients’ emotions, and while judges try to assume good faith, inappropriate conduct is noticed.

Justice Márquez said certain lawyers’ briefs provided reliable arguments due to a record of responsible advocacy, whereas various kinds of disrespectful in-court behavior toward judges and opponents have been privately observed. Judge Tow also discussed holding private practitioners to stricter deadlines than government attorneys with less caseload control.

Regarding oral arguments, Justice William W. Hood III explained hypothetical questions are common as the high court aims to avoid unintended consequences. However, he said Supreme Court justices may have more open minds than Court of Appeals judges who already draft tentative opinions. Judge Jerry N. Jones of the Court of Appeals advised taking arguments as chances to understand judges’ perspectives, while Judge Jaclyn Casey Brown, also of the Court of Appeals, suggested clarifying misunderstandings and addressing points of struggle.

Court of Appeals Judges Katharine E. Lum and Timothy J. Schutz warned of frequent inadequate factual findings by trial courts in family law appeals that force remands. Judge Schutz acknowledged pro se parties often lack information to prove financial claims. Retired Judge David J. Richman asked whether changed circumstances during appeals should be reconsidered.

Magistrate Judge Maritza Dominguez Braswell and Judge Lino S. Lipinsky de Orlov discussed AI tools’ benefits and pitfalls for legal work. Judge Lipinsky reported examining professional conduct rules to accommodate AI with recommended rule changes pending approval. Attorney Jacob Hollars demonstrated an AI assistant giving vague appellate predictions without case specifics.

Finally, Attorney Geoffrey C. Klingsporn statistically analyzed the Supreme Court’s 2022-2023 term caseload and decisions. He noted the time from argument to ruling has decreased over the past decade on average to 120 days but was only 13 days for one high-profile case ultimately reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Klingsporn also found Justice Melissa Hart was most often in the majority in divided rulings.

 

 

Source: Colorado Politics