DRAG IN COURT | Judicial retention election, right to public trial under scrutiny | courts

DRAG IN COURT |  Judicial retention election, right to public trial under scrutiny |  courts

Welcome to Court Crawl, Colorado Politics’ news roundup on the third branch of government.

Voters have less than 48 hours to deliver their ballots and decide whether to retain state judges whose terms are about to expire, and appeals courts last week interpreted limits on the constitutional right to a public trial.

remember to vote

There are 135 judges seeking retention this year for terms of varying lengths, depending on their position. Citizen-led performance commissions have advised that all judges meet performance standards. Failure to retain a judge will create a vacancy for the governor to fill.

For any questions about the judicial withholding process, check out this explanation from the Colorado Politics voter guide.

Voters can also use Colorado Politics as a resource to learn about the work and decisions of judges across the state.

The right to a public trial

Under the Sixth Amendment and the Colorado constitution, criminal defendants have the right to a public trial. Although sometimes that right has to give way to accommodate other concerns, the US Supreme Court has established a rubric for when justices can close their courtroom to some or all members of the public. Last week, the Colorado Supreme Court decided that an Arapahoe County judge acted correctly by excluding the disturbing wife of one of the defendants from three and a half days of trial.

Days later, the state Court of Appeals ruled that a different Arapahoe County judge was also justified in excluding a member of the public during jury selection. but only because of the unique circumstances: a small courtroom, a large jury pool, and the inability to seat anyone else due to fire code.







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The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in downtown Denver houses the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. (Michael Karlik/Colorado Politics)


in federal news

• A Republican candidate for the state House of Representatives insisted he purposely did not opt ​​for himself to voluntary spending limits when he filed for an Arapahoe County district in February. When he learned in June that he was included, he waited a couple of months to file a lawsuit. He then waited several more weeks to ask a court to block spending limits. But a federal judge now says the candidate unreasonably delayed his request for reliefto the point that it was too close to the elections.

• An Arvada police officer allegedly viewed a cell phone recording showing three people calmly interacting with each other, but nonetheless sought a felony warrant threatening one of them. a judge has refused to dismiss the civil rights lawsuit against the officeralleging unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution.

• An attorney spent two years suing Commerce City over charges that, to date, do not appear to implicate the city in any way. city ​​of commerce asked a judge to financially sanction the lawyer for his behavior, and the judge has agreed.

• Jefferson County and your jail medical contractor can be sued for failing to adequately treat a detainee’s severe sinusitis during his six-month stay, a judge decided.

A federal employee who strongly opposes the Biden administration’s requirement that executive branch workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 did not follow the proper process to challenge the mandatea judge has ruled.

A former Denver Public Schools employee you have not shown that your termination was unlawful because it stemmed from his opposition to racial discrimination.

A judge I didn’t think I could order underwear and dentures to a woman detained in the Washington County Jail, who called the deprivation “degrading.”







The Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse in downtown Denver.

The Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse in downtown Denver. (Photo courtesy of the United States District Court – Colorado)


heard on appeal

• An inmate confessed to having a contraband item in his cell, but insisted at trial that he only took responsibility because he didn’t want to be labeled a “snitch.” The Court of Appeals ruled that the trial judge should have let the jury hear expert testimony about prison culture, which might have made it more plausible that the inmate was actually covering up for his cellmate.

• School districts across the state were spooked when an El Paso County judge ruled last year that a Monument-based educational cooperative could open schools outside its boundaries, without needing permission from other school districts to host a school. The Court of Appeals, however, concluded that nothing in state law gives cooperatives that authority.

• A former City of Loveland employee you may not get access to certain emails under attorney-client privilege, even though the subject of the emails was her.

• A pair of environmental groups sued the state, claiming it missed the July 2020 deadline to announce rules to reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next three decades. But the Court of Appeals decided the deadline of July 2020 it was not intended for a complete set of regulationsbut rather by rules aimed at data collection.

various procedures

The Colorado Supreme Court has lowered the minimum score needed to pass the bar examputting Colorado in line with the scores of most other states.

The arraignment of three police officers and two paramedics for their role in the 2019 death Elijah McClain have been delayed until next year.

The state judicial ethics panel has clarified that judges with attorney spouses they don’t need to recuse themselves from cases unless your spouse is directly involved.

The ACLU of Colorado has written to 12 local governments to note that they cannot legally bar people with felony convictions from running for office.

The state judicial ethics panel has clarified that judges with attorney spouses they don’t need to recuse themselves from cases unless your spouse is directly involved.

Former Aurora Police Chief, Vanessa Wilsonhas alerted the city she plans to file a lawsuit alleging retaliation and discrimination played a role in his firing.

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