The Colorado Supreme Court docket, along with deciding instances, has final accountability for disciplining Colorado’s attorneys and judges.
For attorneys, their conduct is ruled by the Guidelines of Skilled Conduct and the company that investigates and prosecutes violations is the Workplace of Lawyer Regulation Counsel. For judges, their conduct is ruled by the Code of Judicial Conduct and the company that investigates and prosecutes violations is the Fee on Judicial Self-discipline.
Again in August, the Supreme Court docket accepted the disciplining of Choose Mark Thompson, chief decide of the Fifth Judicial District, pursuant to a stipulation labored out between Choose Thompson and the Fee on Judicial Self-discipline. Below this stipulation, Thompson obtained a public censure and a 30-day suspension of his judicial duties with out pay.
So what did Thompson do to finish up in entrance of the Fee on Judicial Self-discipline? Properly, on July 25, 2021, he bought right into a heated verbal confrontation along with his 22-year-old stepson. The confrontation began in entrance of Thompson’s Summit County dwelling after which moved inside the house, at which period Thompson took an AR-15-style rifle out of a gun secure and pointed it at this stepson’s chest. (Thompson claimed the gun was not loaded; his stepson claimed Thompson mentioned it was.) At this level, mentioned stepson had the nice sense to go away the house and name 911. That decision finally led to Thompson being charged with a category 2 misdemeanor — disorderly conduct within the type of recklessly displaying a harmful weapon in a fashion calculated to alarm.
Due to Thompson’s place because the chief decide for the Fifth Judicial District, which incorporates Summit County, this episode offered a battle of curiosity for the Summit County Sheriff’s Division. This resulted within the sheriff’s division’s recusal and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation taking up the case. Additionally, the Fifth Judicial District Lawyer’s Workplace and the opposite judges within the district recused themselves, ensuing within the appointment of a particular prosecutor and a decide from one other judicial district to deal with the case.
In the end, Thompson pleaded responsible to the fees in opposition to him and, as he was required to do underneath the Code of Judicial Conduct, he reported these occasions to the Fee on Judicial Self-discipline.
Thompson cooperated with the fee in teasing out the information of the stepson incident and was allowed to inform the fee of the stress in his life coming from a dying and sickness in his household, and threats he had obtained regarding his work as a decide. He additionally instructed the fee he and his stepson had made “extraordinary progress reconciling their variations” and that, for the reason that time of the July 2021 confrontation, he had engaged in anger and stress administration remedy.
The fee, in figuring out the phrases of the self-discipline it was recommending, and that the Supreme Court docket accepted, discovered that Thompson had violated a piece of the Code of Judicial Conduct that claims judges should adjust to the legislation. The fee additionally discovered that Thompson had violated a piece of the code that mentioned: “A decide shall act always in a fashion that promotes public confidence within the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall keep away from impropriety and the looks of impropriety.”
The final day of Thompson’s suspension with out pay was Nov. 13. For a number of extra months, he’ll stay on unsupervised probation within the legal case introduced in opposition to him.
Jim Flynn is a enterprise columnist. He is of counsel with the Colorado Springs agency Flynn & Wright, LLC. He will be contacted at [email protected].