Colorado: bill to require interviews of local bar, prosecutors, and public defenders for judicial performance evaluations withdrawn

A plan to require Colorado’s district judicial performance evaluation commissions interview prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the local bar was killed in committee earlier this week. Current law (C.R.S. 13-5.5-105(d)) provides each commission has a duty “To interview district and county court judges and other persons and accept information and documentation from interested persons” without specifying those “interested persons”.

Under HB 1069 the duty to interview would have been expanded to explicitly include “a representative of the district attorney, a representative of the state public defender, [and] a representative of the local bar association.” An additional provision would have required each of the three organizations/entities have 35 days warning prior to the interview and that a majority of the members of the district evaluation commission be present. The interview could not be substituted with a written document “without the consent of the invited party.”

HB 1069 had moved with minimal opposition in the House (11-0 in the House Judiciary; 62-2 in the full House) before being indefinitely postponed at the request of the sponsor on March 24.