In a uncommon act of public self-discipline, the Colorado Supreme Court docket on Monday suspended a former chief choose who earlier this 12 months misplaced his management function within the Fifth Judicial District after threatening his stepson with an AR-15-style rifle.
The justices suspended Decide Mark Thompson for 30 days with out pay and publicly censured him in an opinion launched Monday. Thompson pointed an AR-15-style rifle at his 22-year-old stepson’s chest throughout an argument in July 2021.
Thompson was faraway from his management place as chief choose for Summit, Clear Creek, Eagle and Lake counties after the incident and later pleaded responsible to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in reference to the risk, however he nonetheless serves as a choose for the district, working solely on non-criminal instances till his year-long probation ends.
The threatening incident occurred whereas Thompson was on a “long-planned five-week sabbatical” as a part of a program accessible to all judges within the fifth Judicial District, the state Supreme Court docket discovered. The choose was below “vital emotional pressure” from each sickness and dying in his household and threats to his life associated to his work as a choose, the justices discovered.
He grew to become indignant when his stepson’s buddy, along with his stepson within the passenger seat, drove “too quick” previous Thompson whereas he was strolling his canine after darkish, based on the opinion. Thompson allegedly threatened to “put a .45 via (the buddy’s) head” if the buddy continued to drive quick, based on the opinion.
Thompson denies saying that, and in addition informed the state Supreme Court docket his rifle was unloaded when he pointed it at his stepson in the course of the argument, although he informed his stepson on the time that it was loaded.
The suspension might be served from Oct. 15 to Nov. 13, based on the opinion.
Thompson, who can be an legal professional, was additionally disciplined by the Workplace of Presiding Disciplinary Decide in July. He acquired a six-month suspension of his regulation license that won’t take impact so long as he efficiently completes a 12 months of probation.
That’s just like the punishment he acquired after his legal responsible plea. He should serve a 12 months of unsupervised probation and the completion of anger administration therapy.
“Decide Thompson regrets the harms that he has triggered to his stepson and to the general public’s notion of the Judiciary,” the opinion learn. “Decide Thompson acknowledges the importance of his conduct and can proceed to hunt methods to rebuild his relationship along with his stepson and his popularity in his neighborhood.”
Thompson is certainly one of solely a half-dozen of judges to be publicly disciplined in Colorado since 2010, and his censure comes as legislators are working to reform the judicial self-discipline system to make it extra clear and fewer managed by the Colorado Supreme Court docket.
Different judges who confronted public self-discipline within the final decade embrace Natalie Chase, who used a racial slur in dialog with a Black colleague, Laurie Booras, who known as one other choose “the little Mexican,” Robert Rand, who made misogynistic and inappropriate feedback, Lance Timbreza, who was charged with driving below the affect, and Ryan Kamada who tipped a buddy off to a federal drug investigation.