Colorado’s judiciary is being unjustly attacked
No bribery. No payouts. No cover up. The headline should read: “We were wrong. We’re sorry.”
It’s time to set the record straight.
For a year and a half, the press has attacked the Colorado Supreme Court by repeating mere allegations to try to find a scandal.
There were two allegations. One of which was that tacit former employee Mindy Masias was granted a management contract. Second, there was a secret list of allegations of improper conduct by state court officials, including some judges.
The court, transparent at every turn, released the document containing the allegations. It called for independent investigations with investigators to be chosen by the legislature and executive. The court promised to make the results of the investigation public, and it did.
There were separate investigations into each allegation. The first investigation found that the hush money allegations were false. The second investigation concluded that while the allegations all contained a grain of truth, the “secret” list, which dates back 20 years, also included claims that were “baseless”, “unfounded” and “misleading”. As the investigative report noted, “Many of the allegations omit important context or misstate facts.”
The independent investigators found nothing criminal or unethical, but suggested ways for the Justice Department to manage its nearly 4,000 employees so the Justice Department can better address and resolve employee issues.
Established in 1958, the American Board of Trial Advocates is made up of state and federal judges and attorneys who represent both sides of the civil trial chamber—consumers and businesses. We uphold, protect and defend our rule of law so that trust in an independent and impartial judiciary remains the cornerstone of our democracy, free from political or financial interference.
The Colorado court process is safe and fair. We are disappointed that the press seems to have lost sight of this fundamental point.
Our judiciary is increasingly being subjected to harsh and unfair attacks. judge murderedfollowing and ambushing their families illustrate these extremist actions aimed at intimidating the judiciary.
Our Chapter condemns such attacks on our judges and juries, who know that one side or the other will disagree with their decisions. Losing parties have non-violent remedies. Active bullying and intimidation cannot be tolerated.
Civil courts judge facts. The trial judges indicate which laws apply to the case. Appellate judges decide whether the correct jury-making law has been provided. Seldom thanked and often despised, grand juries remain the backbone of an independent and impartial legal system.
Politicians and reporters sometimes select parts of studies, as do columnists, to mock judges and juries. Still, the jurors and judges should be applauded for their objectivity and willingness to make tough decisions based on all the facts unquestioned by the gallery.
The raw courage that our juries and judges quietly display every day cannot be overstated. Our chapter advocates dedicating a day annually as Jury Appreciation Day to say thank you.
Remember: our rule of law cannot survive without our judiciary. Without the 7th Amendment and our right to a jury trial, none of the other amendments to the Bill of Rights can be enforced.
Richard Kaudy, President of the Colorado Branch of the American Board of Trial Advocates, has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and President of the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association and represents both consumers and insurance companies in civil litigation. Tom Overton, Vice President of the American Board of Trial Advocates, has been a trial attorney for 40 years. He represents companies and individuals in all types of civil litigation.
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