The Judicial Integrity Project

Colorado’s Supreme Court has used its power to help itself – again. This time, it’s to wipe out an embarrassing 97% dismissal rate of complaints against judges.

By rewriting the rules for Colorado’s Commission on Judicial Discipline, the Supreme Court stops the incredulous 97% dismissal rate from continuing. The rate hit 97% in 1993 and has been 97% ever since – 24 years. But the Supreme Court has ensured the rate won’t continue.

How? By redefining “complaint.”

Under the new rules, a complaint will no longer be a complaint when a person files a complaint with the commission. A complaint will only be a “complaint” when the commission finds there are grounds to proceed. Before that point, what has been a complaint will now be called a “request for investigation.”

Requests for investigation won’t be dismissed. Those files will merely be closed if the commission finds there aren’t grounds to proceed. The 97% dismissal rate disappears into those closed files. Clever, huh?

So instead of spending valuable time hearing more cases that should be heard at the Supreme Court, or encouraging vigorous enforcement of the Code of Judicial Conduct, our justices spent time figuring out a crafty plan to cover their tracks.

Does this rule change make you feel confident in the Supreme Court justices? Does it make you think they’re being unfair? Does it seem like they’re using their power to help themselves?

 

The Code of Judicial Conduct states that, “A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.”

That’s just one rule in the code. But based on that one rule, do you think our Supreme Court has violated the Code of Judicial Conduct?

According to our state constitution, our discipline commission can remove a justice of the Supreme Court for “violation of any canon of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct.” So obviously, great importance was placed on any violation of the code.

But the Supreme Court has intentionally done everything it can to nullify the discipline commission by making the executive director of the commission report to the Supreme Court and by writing rules that strongly discourage the prosecution of complaints against judges.

So what can be done? Do we just have to stand here and watch them abuse their power? Are we helpless in their grasp?

Actually, we aren’t helpless. There is a remedy provided in our state constitution: impeachment.

Judicial officers can be impeached for “high crimes or misdemeanors or malfeasance in office.” Violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct are malfeasance, or wrongdoing, in office. So there is a way around the discipline commission that the Supreme Court has all but disabled.

The truth is, our Supreme Court justices have been doing quite a few things that come within the description of malfeasance. Taking precious time to use their power to draft new rules that superficially eradicate a 97% dismissal rate of complaints against judges is simply another abuse of power.

And it’s really pathetic, don’t you think? The justices see that efforts for reform are gaining steam so they use their rulemaking power to try to cover up the arguments in favor of reform.

The justices would most certainly state that they have the power to make the rules for the discipline commission. We agree. But the justices never have the power to violate the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The Code of Judicial Conduct is to protect us from their abuse of power. We just have to enforce the code. They are afraid of the code being enforced. That’s why they’ve turned the discipline commission from a commission that was supposed to discipline judges to a commission that covers up judicial misconduct.

So, should we start talking about a nonpartisan, online petition to impeach all 7 Supreme Court justices, conservatives and liberals alike, based on violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct?

Let us know your thoughts. We’d need a lot of signatures to convince our House of Representatives to pursue such an effort.

It’s just an idea. We started The Judicial Integrity Project because we need to change the system. We need to change law. We never thought we would even be suggesting the removal of individuals from office. But it appears our 7 Supreme Court justices may be conflicts of interest that must be removed.

We’ll need to hear from a lot of you before we’ll even put up a petition. So if you’d sign such a petition, please let us know.

And please sign our current online petition to support our efforts to improve the justice system with common sense, nonpartisan reforms that remove conflicts of interest, increase transparency and enhance accountability of judges.

After all, if Colorado’s Supreme Court didn’t have the power to write the rules for Colorado’s discipline commission, we wouldn’t have this problem.

https://www.gopetition.com/…/colorado-needs-judicial-reform…

https://www.courts.state.co.us/…/Rule%20Change%202017(03).p…

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