We all like to think of judges as neutral parties – and some really are. More recently in Colorado, however, we are seeing many Deputy District Attorneys being appointed as judges. Somehow, judicial nominating commissions and the governor think DAs are more politically appealing to voters in Denver, Jefferson and Douglas County. The problem is that District Attorneys are not able to set their DA mindset aside when working with defense attorneys and their defendant clients.
A Recent, Real Life Example of Judge Bias
This problem has never been more clear to me than last week, when I had a trial with an Adams County judge who was a former child sexual assault prosecutor. Now three years past her start as a judge, she blindly shows favoritism to the DAs in her courtroom, and angrily reacts to defense attorneys zealously defending their clients. As never before, I was the recipient of angry looks, harsh words and repeated interruptions when trying to build an appellate record of the problems in this courtroom. Once we won the trial, the judge was quick to leave the bench, never thanking the lawyers for their hard work – as is always done. It appeared she took the DA’s loss personally.
Sexual Assault on Child Cases – Most go to Trial
Sexual Assault on a Child cases are no one’s favorite. Prosecutors and defense attorneys dislike the subject as much as the public in Arapahoe and Weld County does. Yet kids make allegations as our society deteriorates, so we must address the issue. With DAs terrified to dismiss even the weakest of their cases for fear of a complaint to a victim’s rights group, most every sexual assault allegation is going to trial. Trials mean interactions with former DAs in black robes.
I am sad to report the terrible abuse of our constitutional legal process when judges take sides and are so blind they can’t see it, or don’t care. Judicial performance commissions may care, but their roles are limited to retention votes. Years can go by with a judge, like the one in my Adams County case, influencing DAs to prosecute cases, setting obstacles before defense attorneys, and increasing the likelihood of the conviction of innocent men.
During this trial, the angry judge did not deter me from the passionate defense of my client. I knew he was innocent and deserved my unwavering loyalty in his defense. While I am happy we won, I am sad the process was so unprofessional. Call our committed criminal defense lawyers before speaking with police at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.