Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Institutionalized Judicial Misconduct

The Appellate Courts in Colorado are moving out of their slightly old, but terribly ugly offices and courtrooms and into the new superjail/courthouse being built just west of the Mint in downtown Denver. There's a slight fly in the ointment--the new space is not ready and won't be for about a third of a decade. What to do? Because of the collapse of the readership of newspapers in this state, the Rocky Mountain News went under and the Denver Post is holding on by its metaphorical fingernails (its weekday classified ads section is often just one broadsheet long). And there are two newspaper office buildings although there is only one paper still operating. So the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Colorado has agreed to rent temporary space from the Post. Problem solved.

Oh, there might be one problem still. The paper is supposed to be the watchdog of the government, including the Judiciary--are they going to be hard (tough but fair) on their tenant? Is there a conflict of interest in the top of the Colorado Judiciary having the only big daily paper left in the state as a landlord?

Here is part of Canon 2 of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct, titled, A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All the Judge's Activities:

A judge should...conduct himself or herself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
I'm a member of the public and I think this deal stinks. I think our state's appellate judges are apt to be less impartial to their landlord and there certainly is the appearance of a conflict of interest even if the individual judges and justices can rise above the taint of this deal and act impartially.

I don't think I'm alone in this judgment.

(h/t Carol Chambers)



I, for one, will lose no sleep over this relationship.

Ah, the thin end of the wedge.
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