On Monday, August 29, 2022, the Supreme Court of Colorado publicly censured and suspended Mark D. Thompson, Judge of the 5th Judicial District, for misconduct charges. The case is styled as ‘In the matter of Judge Thompson’ with case number #22SA268.
The judge was charged with violating Rule 1.1 and 1.2 of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct, which states:
A judge shall comply with the law, including the Code of Judicial Conduct.
Conduct by a judge that violates a criminal law may, unless the violation is minor, constitute a violation of the requirement that a judge must comply with the law.
A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary’s independence, integrity, and impartiality, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.
The following are as alleged and summarized from the filing.
Judge Thompson and his 22-year-old stepson got into a heated argument in front of the judge’s home in Summit County on July 25, 2021. The judge allegedly retrieved an AR-15-style rifle from a gun safe in his house and pointed it at his stepson’s chest. The stepson left the house and called 911.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Department opened an inquiry. After realizing that Judge Thompson was the Chief Judge for their judicial district, the Summit County Sheriff’s Department withdrew its involvement and turned the matter over to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. On January 14, 2022, Judge Thompson pled guilty in Summit County District Court case to disorderly conduct. The judge was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation with a requirement of continued anger management treatment.
Judge Thompson notified the Commission on Judicial Discipline about the charges. Judge Thompson admitted that his conduct was improper and created an appearance of impropriety. He also acknowledged that his conduct represents a substantial breach of the standards of judicial conduct and merits a public censure.
In the stipulation filed by the commission, Judge Thompson agreed to waive his right to a hearing in formal proceedings and to be publicly censured and then suspended from his judicial duties without pay for thirty days.
The Supreme Court accepted the stipulation, stating that it complies with RJD 37(e) and is supported by the record of the proceedings.
The order states:
“This court hereby publicly censures you, Judge Mark D. Thompson, for failing to maintain the high standards of judicial conduct required of a judge…. And this court hereby suspends you, Judge Mark D. Thompson, from your judicial duties without pay for thirty days, such suspension to be served from October 15, 2022, through November 13, 2022.”
The Judge earned a law degree from the University of Denver College of Law in 1992.
The Judge’s Courtroom is at 501 N. Park Avenue in Breckenridge and can be reached at (970).
A copy of the original filing can be found here.