On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, Colorado Politics reported that the Colorado Supreme Court censured former Arapahoe County District Court Judge John Scipione for misconduct.

The Supreme Court found that Scipione failed to disclose an intimate relationship he had with a staff member from his time as a magistrate. He also inappropriately discussed his sexual preferences and habits with other employees. Furthermore, Scipione tried to influence a case in another jurisdiction by contacting a judge and clerk there regarding his father’s estate.

As a result of Scipione’s actions, the Colorado Judicial Department had privately settled two sexual harassment claims against him. The settlements totaled $130,000. However, spokespeople for the department did not provide Colorado Politics with additional details about the settlement agreements.

In January 2023, Scipione admitted to the misconduct outlined above in a document filed with the Supreme Court. The high court criticized Scipione, writing that his “transgressions represented a pattern of misconduct reflecting that Scipione repeatedly abused his power for self-gain.” Two justices, Brian Boatright and Carlos Samour, did not participate in the case but did not state why they recused themselves.

The Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, which investigates complaints against judges, had recommended that in addition to being censured, Scipione pay $51,189 to reimburse attorney fees associated with the disciplinary proceedings against him. The Supreme Court agreed with this punishment, finding Scipione’s conduct was serious, part of a pattern, and negatively impacted the Judicial Department. However, the high court rejected the commission’s additional request that Scipione return his salary and benefits from when he was suspended.

Scipione had begun his judicial career in 2012 as an Arapahoe County magistrate before being appointed as a county judge and later a district judge. The Supreme Court initially suspended him with pay due to the disciplinary case. Scipione had attempted to delay the proceedings by claiming a disability prevented him from assisting in his defense, but three medical evaluations found this was not the case. Scipione stepped down from his position shortly after the Supreme Court issued its censure decision.

 

 

Source: Colorado Politics