Colorado Supreme Court

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The Colorado Supreme Court is the state's court of last resort. Its decisions are binding on all other Colorado state courts. The actions of this court are also tracked by the Colorado Civil Justice League.

Colorado State Judicial Building

2 East 14th Avenue, Fourth Floor

Denver, CO 80203

The Supreme Court is composed of seven justices who serve ten-year terms. The Chief Justice is selected from the membership of the body and serves at the pleasure of a majority of the justices. The Chief Justice also serves as the executive head of the Colorado Judicial System and is the ex-officio chair of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. The Chief Justice appoints the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the Chief Judge of each of the state's 22 judicial districts, and is vested with the authority to assign judges (active or retired) to perform judicial duties.

Requests to review decisions of the Colorado Court of Appeals constitute a majority of the Supreme Court's filings. The Supreme Court also has direct appellate jurisdiction over cases in which a statute has been held to be unconstitutional, cases involving decisions of the Public Utilities Commission, writs of habeas corpus, cases involving adjudication of water rights, summary proceedings initiated under the Election Code, and prosecutorial appeals concerning search and seizure questions in pending criminal proceedings. All of these appeals are filed directly with the Supreme Court, and, in these cases bypass the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court also has exclusive jurisdiction to promulgate rules governing practice and procedure in civil and criminal actions.

In 2012 the Equal Justice Foundation began a rating system of justices standing for retention based on the votes of attorneys who submit responses to surveys sent to them by the Judicial Performance Review Commission. The idea was first put forward by the Rocky Mountain News in an October 13, 2002, editorial. Whether a "Retain" or "Do Not Retain" is recommended is based on the criteria:

Retain: More than 85% of attorneys voted to retain;

Marginal: only 80-85% of attorneys voted to retain. In 2014 review this was changed to 75-85% of attorneys voted to retain;

Do Not Retain: Less than 80% of attorneys voted to retain. In 2014 review this was changed to <75% of attorneys voted to retain.


 
    Table 14: Colorado Supreme Court

Name of Judge

Telephone

Case Links

Comments

En Banc

(the whole court)

 

03 SC 751

In move-away mom case found that a single mother has the right to live wherever she chooses irrespective of father's or children's wishes.

04 SA 178

In People v. Turner found that a defendant in a criminal domestic violence case had no right to obtain documentation of what was probably subornation of perjury against him.

07SC1088

On February 16, 2010, the Colorado Supreme Court held that evidence of a sexual relationship is not necessary to establish the existence of an intimate relationship when a man is charged with domestic abuse or violence.

Michael L. Bender

Former Chief Justice

 

Retired January 7, 2014.

 

Appointed Jan 2,1997

Stood for retention in 2000. 80% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2010. 82% Retain.

Elected chief justice by other justices November 10, 2010.

Brian Boatright

(720) 625-5410

 

Appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper in October 2011. Formerly district judge in First Judicial District. Replaced Alex Martinez.

Stood for retention in 2014

EJF recommends Do Not Retain

Only 66% of attorneys voted to retain, 15% voted Do Not Retain, and 20% didn't bother to vote.

Nathan B. Coats

(720) 625-5420

 

Appointed April 24, 2000

Stood for retention in 2002. 87% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2012.

EJF recommends Do Not Retain

Only 75% of attorneys voted to retain, 25% voted Do Not Retain.

Allison H. Eid

(720) 625-5430

 

Appointed February 15,2006 by Gov. Owens to replace Kourlis.

Stood for retention in 2008. 91% Retain.

Richard L. Gabriel

 

 

Promoted to Colorado Supreme Court by Gov. Hickenlooper in June 2015.

Appointed to Court of Appeals April 30, 2008 by Gov. Ritter.

Stood for retention as Appeals Court judge in 2010. 89% Retain.

Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr.

 

Retired September 1, 2015. Gabriel replaced him.

 

Appointed April 18,1996

Stood for retention in 1998. 92% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2008. 91% Retain.

William W. Hood III

(720) 625-5400

 

Gov. Hickenlooper promoted him to Colorado Supreme Court in January 2014.

Appointed district court judge May 2007 in Second Judicial District.

Replaced John N. McMullen

Stood for retention as district judge in 2010. 98% Retain.

Stood for retention as Supreme Court justice in 2016.

EJF recommendation: Marginal

81% of attorneys voted to Retain, 9% Do Not Retain, 10% no comment.

Rebecca Love Kourlis

 

Resigned January 10, 2006

 

Appointed May 1995.

Stood for retention in 1998. 94% Retain.

Monica Marquez

(720) 625-5450

 

Appointed September 8, 2010, by Gov. Bill Ritter. Lesbian Latina with no prior judicial experience.

Stood for retention in 2014

EJF recommendation: Marginal

83% of attorneys voted to Retain, 8% Do Not Retain, 9% no comment.

Alex J. Martinez

 

Stepped down in August 2011 to become Denver's manager of safety.

 

Appointed September 12, 1996

Stood for retention in 2000. 82% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2010. 81% Retain.

Mary Mullarkey

Former Chief Justice

 

Retired November 30, 2010.

 

Appointed June 29, 1987 became Chief Justice August 3, 1998

Stood for retention in 2000. 79% Retain.

Chief Justice

Nancy E. Rice

(720) 625-5460

 

Elected Chief Justice in January 2014.

Appointed August 5, 1998

Stood for retention in 2000. 82% Retain.

Stood for retention in 2010. 82% Retain.

Presiding Disciplinary Judge (handles cases of attorney discipline and similar matters)

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Roger L. Keithly

 

01 SA 136

Found woman guilty of "unauthorized practice of law" for helping parents whose children had been taken by child protective services.


 

Attorney discipline

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Colorado's attorneys are licensed and disciplined by the Supreme Court. The court's attorney regulation system, funded by attorney registration fees, polices the profession. In addition, the court oversees the State Court Administrator, Board of Continuing Legal Education, Board of Law Examiners, Commission on Judicial Discipline, and Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.

Findings and opinions are printed monthly by the Colorado Lawyer (click on month of interest then scroll down to Colorado Disciplinary Cases). The actions published are only those cases in which Disciplinary Counsel has taken formal action. To view attorney discipline involving diversion and private admonitions online you must be a member of the Colorado Bar Association.

To find out how many grievances are filed against an attorney you may be concerned about, call the Attorney Regulatory Board at (303) 893-8121 and specifically ask how many complaints were filed against that lawyer. They will give that information on the phone but it is not published. The Equal Justice Foundation also maintains a list of attorneys that members have complained about, in addition to lists of attorneys who have been recommended to us.

In practice Disciplinary Counsel acts primarily as an attorney protective association with only rare cases known where unethical or incompetent attorneys are taken to task, i.e, the attorney was convicted of a federal or state felony. Even in the rare cases where disciplinary action is taken, it seldom amounts to more than a slap on the wrist and the weak disciplinary action is usually kept confidential.

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| Chapter 7 — Colorado Judges — Citizen's Review |

| Next — Colorado Court of Appeals |

| Back — Submitting your case for listing |


 

This site is supported and maintained by the Equal Justice Foundation.

Last modified 10/7/16.