Letter to the Editor – Superficial Judicial Retention Recommendations

This Letter to the Editor is solely the opinion of its author. It does not reflect the opinion of this newspaper. We intend to present messages from both sides of the aisle.

By Chris Forsyth

Are you troubled by the lack of information about all those judges on your ballot? You’re not alone.

Unsuspecting voters think if they haven’t heard anything bad about a judge, the judge must be OK. That assumption is incorrect.

Complaints against judges in Colorado, and the discipline history of judges, are hidden from voters. Most states have public judicial discipline proceedings. After all, judges are public servants.

But in Colorado, judicial discipline proceedings are confidential. That means you don’t know whether any of those judges on your ballot have been disciplined. And you don’t know how many complaints have been filed against any of the judges on your ballot.

The problem is compounded at election time when judicial performance commissions issue evaluations and recommendations about judges. Why? Because discipline information is also hidden from performance commissions.

Colorado’s Open Records Act does not apply to judges. So basic information, such as attendance and internal complaints, is also hidden from you and performance commissions.

Performance commissions also don’t receive background checks on judges. And the financial disclosures filed by judges are never checked.

That means the comments in your Blue Book about judges are superficial, at best, and mask a dysfunctional judicial system.

Research shows that you’re predisposed to vote to retain all those judges on the ballot. You trust the system no matter how bad it is. That’s probably why the state commission on judicial performance has repeatedly fought against obtaining any of the above-mentioned information.

Stop the madness at judicialintegrity.org