On Saturday, September 10, 2022, The Denver Gazette reported that the Colorado Legislative Interim Committee proposed a constitutional amendment that would create an independent three-person board to handle disciplinary hearings against judges.

According to the report, the amendment would create the Independent Judicial Discipline Adjudicative Board as an autonomous agency within the Judicial Department. It would be composed of a judge, a lawyer, and a citizen connected to neither profession. The governor and the Supreme Court would each appoint four nominees to the panel, for a total of 12 total candidates. Each candidate would then be picked at random.

The committee also proposed a bill to the General Assembly that would create the office of the judicial discipline ombudsman within the Commission on Judicial Discipline. whose primary job would be to create an anonymous reporting system for submitting complaints against judges, then helping complainants throughout the process. The main responsibility of the ombudsman would be to establish a method for anonymously registering complaints against judges and assisting complainants throughout the procedure.

Committee chairman Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, said it’s likely the bills and resolution will undergo additional changes. The committee will meet on September 30 to discuss adjustments and cast the deciding decision to send the resolutions to the General Assembly during its upcoming session.

The Denver Gazette reported that:

“Any changes to the discipline commission’s authority would require a constitutional amendment approved by 55% of the voters. It currently sits beneath the Supreme Court, which mandates how it operates and ultimately decides whether a judge’s discipline is made public.

The commission would no longer conduct hearings on discipline matters, but rather only determine whether a judge’s alleged misconduct warrants a hearing. The commission would have the authority to dismiss a complaint or request remedial action short of a formal hearing.

The Supreme Court currently reviews any discipline recommendation by the commission to determine whether it should be dismissed or made public. That would change under the proposed new system, and the court would only step in if a judge appeals the decision by the three-person adjudicative board.”

Source: The Denver Gazette


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