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Judicial Discipline Procedures And Confidentiality

Submitting to the registered electors of the state of Colorado an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning judicial discipline, and, in connection therewith, establishing an independent judicial discipline adjudicative board, setting standards for judicial review of a discipline case, and clarifying when discipline proceedings become public.
2023 Regular Session
Courts & Judicial
Bill Summary

Legislative Interim Committee on Judicial Discipline. The concurrent resolution amends section 23 of article VI of the Colorado constitution as it relates to judicial discipline. Under existing law, the commission on judicial discipline (commission) investigates complaints of judicial misconduct; conducts formal judicial disciplinary proceedings; and may dismiss complaints, impose informal sanctions, or recommend that the Colorado supreme court impose formal sanctions. The commission may also request that the supreme court appoint special masters to hear and take evidence on a matter and report to the commission.

The resolution clarifies the commission's authority to dismiss complaints. The resolution repeals the authority of the commission to conduct formal judicial disciplinary proceedings and request appointment of special masters, and creates an independent adjudicative board (board) to conduct formal proceedings and hear appeals of the commission's orders imposing informal sanctions. The board is comprised of 4 district court judges, 4 attorneys, and 4 citizens. The resolution prohibits a member of the commission from being appointed to the board and prohibits a member of the board from being appointed to the commission. A randomly selected panel of the board, comprised of one judge, one attorney, and one citizen, conducts formal proceedings in a case. The resolution permits the panel to dismiss a complaint, impose informal sanctions, or impose formal sanctions.

The resolution sets the standards of review to be used by the supreme court when it reviews a panel's decision. The resolution requires a tribunal of 7 randomly selected court of appeals judges to review the panel's decision in the same manner and using the same standards of review when: The proceedings involve a complaint against a Colorado supreme court justice; a Colorado supreme court justice, a staff member to a justice, or a family member of a justice is a complainant or a material witness in the proceeding; or more than 2 justices have recused themselves from the proceeding. The tribunal reviews the panel's decision in the same manner and using the same standards of review as the supreme court does when it reviews panel decisions.

Under existing law, commission proceedings are confidential until the commission files recommendations with the supreme court. The resolution makes proceedings public at the commencement of formal proceedings and clarifies that appeals to the board of informal remedial sanctions are confidential. The resolution clarifies that a person is absolutely immune from any action for defamation based on papers filed with or testimony before the commission, adjudicative board, supreme court, or tribunal. The resolution clarifies the circumstances in which the commission may release otherwise confidential information.

The resolution creates a rule-making committee to propose rules for the commission. The supreme court approves or rejects each rule proposed by the rule-making committee. The Colorado rules of evidence and Colorado rules of civil procedure, as amended, apply to proceedings before a panel of the adjudicative board until and unless the supreme court promulgates rules specifically governing panel proceedings.

(Note: This summary applies to this concurrent resolution as introduced.)


Under Consideration


Bill Text


Sponsor Type Legislators
Prime Sponsor

Rep. M. Lynch, Rep. M. Weissman
Sen. B. Gardner, Sen. J. Gonzales


Rep. J. Bacon
Sen. D. Moreno, Sen. K. Van Winkle


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