The Colorado Supreme Court has changed its rules for judges to more explicitly prohibit harassment or retaliation against court personnel.
The change, made in June and announced to staff by Chief Justice Brian Boatwright in an email earlier this month, seven current and former judicial staffers told The Denver Post this spring that they were exposed to widespread sexism while on the job and a Toxic work environment encountered. , and retaliatory action was taken against the women who talked about the problems.
“Both harassment and retaliation have long been prohibited by the Code (Judicial Conduct), and these changes are designed to be even more clear,” Boatwright wrote in an email obtained by the Post on July 1. He declined to comment on Tuesday.
The Code of Judicial Conduct now explicitly prohibits judges from retaliate against current and former judicial staff, lawyers or members of the public who report misconduct. It also provides new guidance for judges on how to respond to judicial or lawyer misconduct.
“The public’s confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary is fostered when judges take appropriate action based on credible evidence of misconduct,” reads the new paragraph. “Appropriate action depends on the circumstances, but the overarching goal of such action should be to prevent harm to those affected by the misconduct and to prevent recurrence.”
Boatright acknowledged in February that state courts were facing a “crisis of trust” after The Post published allegations by former state court administrator Christopher Ryan that high-ranking judicial officers — including now retired Chief Justice Nathan. “Ben” Coates – a $2.5 million contract to a former top administrator to stop speaking about the misconduct of the judges he agreed to give.
The state’s Supreme Court has agreed to an independent investigation into the allegations, and Coates’ role in the alleged deal is also being investigated by the state’s attorney regulation attorney.
In addition to changing the rules for judges, the state court administrator’s office added to its internal intranet to “encourage and simplify the reporting of harassment or discrimination and to make it easier for those employees to obtain information about the reporting and investigation process”. added. Said in an email on July 1.
Jessica Zander, a former Justice Department employee, said Tuesday that she doubts the new rules will actually change behavior within the court system.
“The code of conduct is useless if the allegation on them to set examples and enforce them is corrupt,” she said. “Things that happened, or were alleged to be, were already against the ‘rules.’ The new rules cannot change a culture in which leaders are not interested in change.”