Disciplinary information rarely considered in decisions on judge retention

The Denver Gazette: Colorado’s system of judicial discipline is so secret that the state’s nearly two dozen performance review commissions that evaluate judges have rarely known for sure whether a jurist they recommended voters keep on the bench had a record of misconduct or not.

That shortfall is a critical flaw in the state’s judicial retention process that should be fixed, according to a letter the chairman of the State Commission on Judicial Performance sent to a legislative committee reviewing possible changes to the discipline process.

“Current statutory language and rules governing (Judicial Performance Commissions) are silent on the use of disciplinary information from the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline in the evaluation process,” Thomas Neville, the chairman of the state commission, wrote the committee on July 29. “The evaluation narratives published for use by voters have long been criticized for not providing information about a judge’s disciplinary record, if any.”

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