Submitting your case for listing


 

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Despite the political appointee process, we are quite aware that many judges are competent, honest, fair, and do the best job they possibly can to administer justice to those who appear before them. We would very much appreciate hearing from our readers about such judges, and you will note in the tabulation of judicial districts and their judges in this chapter many comments about fair and honest ones.

The Foundation is as interested in evidence of exceptional performances by jurists as we are complaints of mal- or mis-feasance or other judicial contretemps.

But there are many judges who are a daily horror show to the litigants, defendants, jurors, and even attorneys who appear before them. It is these judges we hope to expose and encourage to step down with your help. The Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct is quite simple and straightforward and, at a minimum, a judge should meet those standards.

We are actively seeking stories of judicial corruption in the Colorado courts from citizens.

If you have stumbled or been dragooned into the morass of our court system and have managed to somehow make your way out with your courage and pride intact and would like your story told and travails documented so the next person might avoid at least some of the pitfalls, the Equal Justice Foundation would like to publish your story. In particular it is useful to link your testimony to the actions of a particular judge or judges, and you will find many examples of that in the following sections listing the judges in all of Colorado's state courts.

You will note that in many cases documented in the following appellate courts and twenty-two judicial districts the judge has violated the applicable law, court rules, or Constitution (either state or Federal, and often both) in an egregious and willful fashion. If that has happened to you, we would like to hear from you. However, there is a basic amount of information we need before we can post your story and some way to verify the events you describe. e.g., transcripts, emails, copies of judge's rulings, etc.

It is suggested that you look at the format of other cases documented here for examples of what is needed. If you have questions about your case please contact us at comments@ejfi.org or by telephone at (719) 520-1089. But we can't do your work for you. You know your case, we don't.


 

Start with a timeline of events

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A timeline of events is essential because this is the best way to avoid any suggestion that the material posted is simply from a "disgruntled" litigant. Given a timeline, the reader can understand what happened where, when, to whom, and verify events as necessary. Any story needs to present who, what, where, when, and why, known to reporters as the Five W's. In other words, when the material is presented in a way that is easily substantiated due to specific dates, records, transcripts, pleadings, case numbers, and court identities then there is little possibility of misrepresentation. A timeline is also essential because most cases we see drag on for years.

Note: A timeline is not a narrative of events but simply a list of date, time, participants, and a brief (no more than one or two line) description of what happened and where. See an example here.

We will also need a list of the parties involved in the case, where they are located, and a brief description of what role they played. The names and locations of all judges, attorneys, special masters, guardian ad litems (GAL), special advocates, child and family investigators (CFIs), Dept. of Human Services employees and child protective services (CPS) case workers, private investigators, psychologists, treatment providers of any type, etc. who are or were involved in the case is essential to documenting your case. It often isn't necessary or desirable to publish all such details but many times a reader will be lost without them. And you will have final say on what is included or excluded before your story is published.

Giving the EJF a box of pleadings to assemble into a narration for posting is beyond our resources and the capabilities of our volunteers. You know your case, the circumstances, events, and who was involved why and when much better than we ever will. We can't do it without your active participation and it is never fast or easy to put these narrations together.

Note that we are not interested in cases where you simply didn't like the way the judge ruled.

An outline of what we will need

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If your case is still ongoing we do not recommend you ask to have your story posted as retaliation is the name of the game in Colorado courts.

At a minimum we will need the following from you and electronic format is strongly preferred. Most, or all of this information should be available from your timeline. In cases we see the litigant (you) is often involved in multiple cases, e.g., a divorce, domestic violence criminal charges, protection orders, child custody battles, child abuse, and who knows what all. And the opposing party or their attorney may also have relevant cases filed against them while all this is going on. The case may even involve more than one judicial district or state. An example of such a complex case is People v. Culpepper In the Interest of M.C., a Child — Case 00 JV 578 .

Please use the following outline and include only that information which applies in your case:

1. Last name of Plaintiff (or People in criminal cases) v. Last Name of Defendant — Case number [includes (Case year) (type code) (case number)] — This is the original case number.

2. (Number of) Judicial District — County where the case was heard, e.g., First Judicial District — Jefferson County. For municipal courts this would be the city and county.

Of course your case may stretch across multiple counties, judicial districts, and even states or countries. So there must be sufficient information so that the reader knows what happened where.

3. Magistrate or municipal judge (if applicable, fill in if one or more magistrates were involved in the case).

4. County Judge (if applicable, fill in if one or more county judges were involved in the case).

5. District Judge (if applicable, fill in if one or more district judges were involved in the case.)

If you appealed a magistrate or county court judge's ruling give the name of the district court judge who heard your appeal.

6. Court of Appeals Judges (if you appealed the case to the Colorado Court of Appeals provide names of judges who ruled on the case and the case number).

7. Colorado Supreme Court Judges (if you appealed the case to the Colorado Supreme Court provide names of judges who ruled on the case and the case number).

8. Additional courts and judges may be involved, e.g., a Federal court and judge or magistrate. Provide same information for them.

Listing all judges and case numbers is critical for tracking a case from court to court. Also the parties involved may change as a case may involve both criminal and civil actions and other parties will probably enter the case as it progresses, or involved parties may change their name.

Note: It is not uncommon in the cases we see for the appellants to have 8 to 15 different judges and magistrates involved. Of course none of the judges will pay any attention to what previous judges have done so it is important to distinguish between what each jurist ordered.

9. Matter before the bar: Brief one or two sentence statement summarizing what the case is about, e.g., dissolution of marriage, domestic violence, and why it is important, e.g., child custody.

Here is how we did it in the Culpepper case:


 

People v. Culpepper In the Interest of M.C., a Child — Case 00 JV 578

Nineteenth Judicial District — Weld County

Magistrate P. Dinsmore Tuttle — Case No. 00 JV 578

County (now District) Judge Gilbert A. Gutierrez — Case No. 00 CR 1531

County Judge Carol M. Haller — Case No. 00 CR 1531

District Judge Roger Klein — Case No. 00 JV 578

District Judge James Hartmann, Jr. — Case No. 04 DR 357

Twentieth Judicial District — Boulder County

County Judge David Archuleta — Case No. 02 T 1179

District Judge Morris Sandstead — Case No. 02 CR 1659

Colorado Court of Appeals — Case 02 CA 1888

Judge Daniel M. Taubman — Wrote opinion

Judge Robert J. Kapelke — Concur

Judge Alan Loeb — Concur

 

Note: Full names of all parties in this case have been made public in newspaper articles. Portions of the following account are extracted from a front-page article in the Denver Post May 6, 2004.

Beginning date: November 2000

Matter before the bar: Child Custody, State Sovereignty, Dependency and Neglect, False Allegations, and Criminal Mischief

Followed by case narrative

 

Supplementary text, figures, or tables generally should not to exceed ten pages. Transcripts and lengthy documents will be linked and attached as PDF files.

If you have questions about your case and how to submit it please don't hesitate to email us, or call (719) 520-1089, before sending it. We are quite aware that the Colorado courts ignore and, in effect, condone perjury and the subornation of perjury and documentation of egregious examples of that are sought. However, he said/she said testimony is of little value.

We do not have the resources to retype your transcripts, hearings, etc. If you wish any of those to be posted we ask that you submit them in electronic format whenever possible. However, if the document simply needs to be linked to your story, e.g., a transcript, we can usually scan it to a PDF file that we then link to your story. We can also scan and convert to PDF format a few pages of arrest warrants, restraining orders, etc. where necessary and essential to proving judicial misconduct. Please make it clear that is what you want done with a document.

Court clerks will usually provide electronic copies of transcripts, etc., if asked when requesting the documents.

Your attorney should be able to give you an electronic copy of any filings or documents he has done for you as well.

Many copy facilities can scan and convert your paper documents to electronic format if you do not have time or energy to retype them.

All of this may seem like a great deal of work and you may simply want to forget the whole nightmare. But, if undocumented, these injustices will continue unchecked.

We can't win the war against judicial tyranny alone, we must have your help.

 

Rare example of public censure of a judge

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Many citizens tell us they are going to expose the judge who destroyed them by going to the media and getting them to tell their story. In general, however, the media ignores such complaints, ofttimes because the person complaining has not done their homework, developed a timeline of events, has too little documentation or too much, and is often incoherent when trying to explain what happened.

The following story is an extremely rare example of public censure of a judge by the media. In attempting to get the media to tell your story the following facts should be kept in mind vis a vis this story.

One, the judge in question is simply a municipal judge, low man on the judicial totem pole. The higher up the judicial ladder a judge is the more unlikely it is the media will tell your story.

Two, cronyism and the old-boy network are certainly at work in your judicial district and judges look out for one another. Local reporters are quite unlikely to fight the local power structure and, even if they do, their editors will probably kill the story.

Three, even with seemingly incontrovertible evidence against a judge a reporter will check with the other parties involved before publishing and is certain to get quite a different story from them as to what happened. A good example of this is when a litigant can prove the other party flat-out lied and perjured themselves. But the liar isn't going to admit to that and is probably more believable and a better liar than you are.

So unless you are a very close relative of local media moguls the chances of having your story told on TV or in the papers is vanishingly small. And when it does happen it is simply forgotten the next day. It is a virtual certainty you never heard of Judge Kimmel and the original newspaper story has disappeared into oblivion.

Conversely, by posting your story on this web site it will remain inextricably linked directly to the judge for as long as the Foundation endures, together with others who have had problems with the same judge. About half the judges whose misbehavior we have documented have decided to step down so, with citizen's help, we are making an impact.

City of Littleton, Arapahoe County seat, fires judge who issued warrant for overdue DVD

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© 2010 by Carlos Illescas, The Denver Post

Reproduced under the Fair Use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.

April 7, 2010 — The Littleton City Council fired longtime Municipal Judge James Kimmel on Tuesday night after he issued an arrest warrant for a teenager who had an overdue $30 DVD from a local library.

Council members had offered Kimmel a chance to resign and receive a severance package. But when he refused, they said they had little choice but to let him go.

"I'm disappointed and saddened the situation has reached this stage," Councilman Bruce Stahlman said.

Kimmel, a municipal judge for almost 30 years, was not at Tuesday's meeting. He refused a request for comment from The Denver Post on Monday about his possible removal.

Aaron Henson, 19, checked out the DVD, "House of Flying Daggers," from the Bemis Public Library last year. He failed to return it in proper time after it got mixed in with boxes as he moved from Littleton to Lakewood.

On December 23, 2009, Kimmel ordered that Henson appear in court January 14, 2010, regarding the DVD. The summons was returned as undeliverable because Henson had moved, and he was never properly served.

When he failed to show, Kimmel issued a bench warrant for Henson's arrest.

On January 25, 2010, Henson was pulled over in Jefferson County for speeding, and when the outstanding warrant came up, he was hauled off to jail, where he spent almost eight hours before his dad bailed him out.

Turns out, he returned the DVD to the library January 7 th — a week before Kimmel issued the warrant. The library sent a letter to the judge that same day notifying him that it had been returned.

That point concerned council members, as did the fact that Kimmel issued the warrant without Henson having been officially served with a summons to appear in court.

When city officials looked into prior cases, they found 71 similar incidents in which a warrant had been issued but had not been properly served. [Emphasis added]

Earlier Tuesday, Henson took blame for not returning the DVD and hoped his actions would not cost Kimmel his job.

"He's a great judge," Henson said. "I heard a lot of good things about him. I honestly don't want them to fire him over this."

In a joint statement read at Tuesday's meeting, the council said Kimmel's "lack of good judgment" in the Henson case and the other cases caused it to lose confidence in his ability to serve as municipal judge.

 

Carlos Illescas: 303-954-1175 or cillescas@denverpost.com

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| DV Home | Abstract | Contents | Authors and Site Map | Tables | Index | Bibliography |

 

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

| Next — Colorado Supreme Court |

| Back —Judging Judges by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D. |


 

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

Added 11/5/12

Last modified 3/9/14