State Court Administrator Steven Vasconcelos said Tuesday that more than 100 Colorado Judicial Department staffers sought to speak to investigators for an independent investigation into allegations of harassment and sexism within the court system — a forceful response that prompted investigators to do their jobs. Tempted to ask for extra time to finish. ,
The Investigative Law Group launched an investigation into claims of widespread workplace harassment and sexism in the judiciary in November. The effort is one of two investigations launched by the Justice Department last year to investigate both allegations of misconduct and a high-level cover-up within the department.
The second investigation, headed by RCT Ltd., a firm led by former US attorney Bob Troyer, is investigating an allegation that top judicial officials violated a $2.75 million contract to prevent a former employee from speaking about judges’ misconduct. tried to use.
During the first meeting of a legislative committee set up to reform judicial discipline, Vasconcelos told lawmakers on Tuesday that both investigations had been delayed. Referring to the large number of people who have sought interviews of investigators, he said, the Investigation Law Group will complete its work by July 29.
“It was almost three times the amount estimated by the ILG,” he said. “It’s an important effort as part of that investigation; they weren’t planning for that at the time.”
Vasconcelos said the RCT investigation should be completed within 10 days and no later than June 29. Both groups will present reports on their investigations that will be made public, although they may be redacted.
In view of the committee’s August 19 deadline to make recommendations on changes to the disciplinary process for judges, lawmakers on Tuesday urged the investigators to finish them at the earliest.
“We have, at the insistence of the Chief Justice, in anticipation of these reports, delayed and adjourned some action under SB-201 ‘in May or June’. And now we are being told at the end of July, the end of June … if we get reports in June and July that are revised or withdrawn … I can assure you the committee will be angry,” said Sen. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs. , who is chairing the eight-member Legislative Interim Committee on Judicial Discipline. “…the delay is really hard for us to swallow, especially based on some history we are not getting information about.”
The brand-new committee created by the passage of SB-201 held its first of five public hearings on Tuesday, as it began to consider a myriad of possible changes to the state’s system for disciplining judges. The committee will look into whether the largely secretive process should be more open to public scrutiny and whether the Colorado Supreme Court should retain the sole power to impose public discipline against judges, among many other issues.
The committee could propose three reform bills for the 2023 legislative session, although some changes would require voters to approve a constitutional amendment.