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A54AC053A09C04C7872588240071DEE7 Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For SB22-201

SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date Apr 14, 2022      
Location SCR 352



SB22-201 - Committee Discussion Only

02:43:48 PM  

Senators Garnder and Lee, co-prime sponsors, presented Senate Bill 22-201, concerning independent oversight of matters concerning judicial discipline.  Senator Gardner discussed constitutional duties, separation of powers, accountability, and transparency, among other things. 

Senator Lee discussed judicial misconduct and stated reasons for the Commission on Judicial Discipline to be independent of the Supreme Court. 

03:32:21 PM  

Chief Justice Brian Boatright, representing Colorado Judicial Branch, testified to amend the bill.  A copy of his remarks was distributed to committee members (Attachment H).  Justice Boatright discussed funding, reporting requirements, external and internal complaints, and the interim committee proposed in the bill.  He further discussed the on-going investigation into recent judicial misconduct allegations. 

Committee members asked questions about the judicial misconduct allegations and separation of powers.  Discussion ensued about public access to the judicial complaint process.  Discussion continued about the effectiveness of the current judicial discipline structure in Colorado. 

03:51:35 PM  

Additional questions were asked about the steps taken after a complaint is lodged against a judge.  Discussion followed about internal versus external complaints, information gathering, and confidentiality.  The conversation returned to independent funding for the Commission on Judicial Discipline. 

04:09:50 PM  

Committee members raised questions about evidence gathering in judicial misconduct cases.  Further questions were asked about the Memorandum of Understanding between the Supreme Court and the Committee on Judicial Discipline.  Concerns were raised by committee members that the Commission on Judicial Discipline is not receiving the necessary information to conduct judicial misconduct investigations.  

Justice Monica Marquez joined Chief Justice Boatright at the witness table.  Further discussion ensued about privilege, confidentiality, and information sharing.  The conversation shifted to reporting structures that encourage the filing of complaints and federal models.   

 

 

04:31:47 PM  

Committee members raised issues about distrust in public institutions and integrity.  Additional questions were asked about record-keeping and staffing. Discussion ensued about judicial discipline in other states.  Justice Marquez referenced a report on judicial discipline by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (https://iaals.du.edu/sites/default/files/documents/publications/recommendations_for_judicial_discipline_systems.pdf). 

 

04:48:21 PM  

Committee members asked questions about senior judges and appointments to the Commission on Judicial Discipline. 

04:52:27 PM  

Mr. Chris Forsyth, representing The Judicial Integrity Project, testified in opposition to the bill.  He expressed concerns that the bill does not create independence for the Commission on Judicial Discipline.  He discussed judicial oversight policies and public judicial proceedings in other states. 

Committee members asked questions about ballot initiatives. 

05:06:27 PM  

Mr. Robin Austin, representing Families Against Court Embezzlement Unethical Standards, testified in opposition to the bill.

Ms. Luanne Fleming, representing Families Against Court Embezzlement Unethical Standards FACEUS, testified in opposition to the bill.

Ms. Marilyn Chappell, representing Colorado Judicial Institute, testified in an amend position.

Committee discussion followed about timing, disclosure and reporting requirements, and the proposed interim committee.  Discussion contined about public disciplinary processes and confidentiality. 

05:22:16 PM  

Ms Maralee McLean, representing self, testified in opposition to the bill.

Mrs Rosemary Van Gorder, representing self, testified to amend the bill.

05:35:56 PM  

Phil Cherner, representing Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, testified to amend the bill. He recommended multiple changes to the bill.

Committee members asked questions about recusals and at what point allegations should become public. 

05:48:09 PM  

Ms. Letitia Maxfield, representing Legislative Policy Committee of the Colorado Bar Association, testified in a neutral position on the bill.  She discussed budget oversight, the complaint process, and confidential and privileged information. 

Committee members asked questions about staffing for the Commission on Judicial Discipline. 

 

 

06:01:25 PM  

Ms. Emma Garrison, representing self and the Colorado Women's Bar Association, testified in a neutral position on the bill.  She supported further study of judicial discipline, including training for the screener of judicial complaints. 

Committee members discussed implicit bias.

 

06:08:29 PM  

Elizabeth Espinosa Krupa, Chair of the Judicial Discipline Commission, testified in favor of the bill.  She distributed a handout about the Commission (Attachment I).  She discussed disclosure obligations, commission independence, and investigatory limitations. 

David Prince, representing the Judicial Discipline Commission, testified in favor of the bill. He discussed the judicial discipline process, funding, information sharing, external and internal complaints, investigations, and enforcement issues related to the Memorandum of Understanding between the commission and the Supreme Court. 

 

 

06:41:03 PM  

Christopher Gregory, executive director of the Commission on Judicial Discipline, testified in favor of the bill.  He raised concerns about the commission's funding, staffing, and the fiscal note.  He distributed three documents related to the commission:

  • Memorandum of Understanding - Access to Court Documents (Attachment J);
  • Chief Justice Directive 08-06 (Attachment K); and,
  • Supreme Court Order regarding access to court records (Attachment L). 

Committee members asked questions about funding and independent operations. 

Ms. Krupa provided a brief history of the commission's funding sources.

Discussion returned to the judicial complaint process and related definitions. 

07:25:11 PM  

The committee revisited implicit bias and judges.  Further conversation ensued about a public discipline process and at what point an investigation becomes public information. Conversation continued about the composition of the interim committee and statutory codification of judicial standards.

07:43:47 PM  

The bill sponsors asked that the bill be laid over until the April 21, 2022. 






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