Two proposals to clean up the courts -- and throw out bad judges

Categories: Politics

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Attorney Chris Forsyth thinks that Colorado courts need to change the way they do business, and the best way to do that is to start with cleaning up the bench, he says. If they make the November ballot and are passed by voters, Initiatives 79 and 94 would create different ways of getting rid of bad judges -- one through an independent ethics committee, the other through the will of the voters. And either way, Colorado could throw the bums out...

See also: Inside fracking initiatives 88 and 89, which Hick had hoped to keep off the ballot

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From cleanupthecourts.org
If Initiative #79, Elections of Justices and Judges, gets on the ballot, here's what you'll see:
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution increasing the number of "Yes" votes required for a justice or judge to be retained in office from a simple majority to a two-thirds majority in the November 4, 2014, general election, and in every election thereafter?

Currently, when a Colorado judge is up for retention, this question appears by his/her name on the ballot: "Shall Justice (Judge) of the Supreme (or other) Court be retained in office?" A voter is given only Yes and No options, and a judge needs just a simple majority vote to be retained. If 79 gets on the ballot and passes, a judge will need to receive at least a two-thirds majority of Yes votes to keep the seat. If the judge does not get that number of votes, the seat will be vacant.

According to the proposed initiative, "in a judiciary where justices and judges seek retention through uncontested elections, it is determined that a simple majority vote is no longer sufficient."

According to Clean Up the Courts, the issue committee that proposed these initiatives, Colorado judges almost never lose their jobs -- not because Colorado voters like them, but because of the way retention elections are covered.

And Initiative #94, Duties of the Independent Ethics Commission, would make sure judges behave if they do keep their seats on the bench. Here's the language of that proposal:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning regulation of judicial conduct and, in connection therewith, transferring jurisdiction over judicial discipline and disability to the independent ethics commission from the commission on judicial discipline and specifying that such jurisdiction includes review of claims of violations of the Colorado code of judicial conduct and claims of disability, as well as complaints that were previously dismissed by the commission on judicial discipline?

If 94 makes it to the ballot and passes, there will be some big changes in the way the Independent Ethics Commission -- itself the creation of a citizen initiative -- oversees judges and justices, and current sections of the Colorado Constitution that dictate who is responsible for prosecuting judicial misconduct will have to be re-written. As it is now, judges from district courts and county courts are part of the commission on judicial discipline; they're selected by the Colorado Supreme Court. The language of 94 would change that, and give the responsibility to the ethics committee. Any decision regarding whether a justice or judge violated a canon or rule of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct, or should be retired for disability, would be in the hands of the committee.

Forsyth, the primary proponent of both initiatives, is a Colorado attorney who is tired of how the courts currently function. "We need judicial reform in Colorado," he says. "Our judges are not properly accountable."

The campaign pushing both initiatives has been running a mail-in effort, so it's difficult to tell if supporters will gather enough signatures to get the proposals on the ballot. The deadline for those petitions is Monday, August 4.

Find more information about all the ballot initiatives -- both those proposed, and the two that have already made the ballot -- go to the Colorado Secretary of State website.

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10 comments
ethosbiz
ethosbiz

-Robert Chase- do not know about more public petition events, but here is the email address for the organizer: cleanupthecourts@hotmail.com

The deadline is Monday August 4th - recommend anyone wanting to sign should download and deliver on Monday to the Organizers.

ethosbiz
ethosbiz

_ RobertChase - you can download your own petition here: http://www.cleanupthecourts.org/  sign it, sign again in front of a Notary and mail it to the PO Box on the petition - on stamp.  Real grass roots and if you have registered voters in your vicinity you can get up to seven more sigs and still get it mailed with one stamp!  Just make certain you sign exactly as you are registered and use the address of record on the voter roles.  Mail it soon!  I think the deadline is on August 3 or 4.

ethosbiz
ethosbiz

_ RobertChase - you can download your own petition here: http://www.cleanupthecourts.org/  sign it, sign again in front of a Notary and mail it to the PO Box on the petition - on stamp.  Real grass roots and if you have registered voters in your vicinity you can get up to seven more sigs and still get it mailed with one stamp!  Just make certain you sign exactly as you are registered and use the address of record on the voter roles.  Mail it soon!  I think the deadline is on August 3 or 4.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

Wow, the "M" triad --- stinky, the mutt and socialist bob AKA the mook, mealy mouth and the moron.


Good news kids, they're interchangeable.  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

.


Vote NO on ALL Judges -- Clear the Bench !!

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

If you clean up the courts, what will be done with all the kangaroos? 

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Both of these initiatives have merit; the present system permits outrageous abuses, (some few of which I have seen firsthand).  If you think the enforcement and administration of the Law in Denver has problems, look into what has been going on in Larimer, Park, and Adams Counties, e.g.  Jamie, please follow up with the Initiative's proponents to find out when and where they will be collecting signatures before Monday.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@ethosbiz Thanks -- I already signed both petitions at the People's Fair.  For the benefit of those who have not had a chance to sign (and the Initiative's prospects to make the ballot), I still want Jamie to follow up with the organizers to find out whether they plan any more public gathering of signatures, and if so, when and where.  Do you know?

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@muhutdafuga They are supposed to be very nutritious; perhaps they could be fed to the homeless.

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