October 10 2006, 5:36 AM
I don't often write opinion pieces here at 5280. But, having practiced as a lawyer in our state and federal courts for 30 years, I know a bad idea when I see one. Term limits for Colorado judges is a bad idea. The reasons that most resonate with me are:
- They are unnecessary. We don't have lifetime appointments in Colorado and we have an adequate system of checks and balances
- They will reduce the independence of the judiciary and make it more political.
- They will reduce the caliber of those who apply to be judges.
Currently, the governor appoints Colorado Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals judges who have been recommended by the state nominating committee. After serving a provisional two-year term, Supreme Court justices face retention elections and, if voters retain them, serve 10-year terms, facing retention elections at the end of each term. Court of Appeals judges also serve provisional two-year terms, followed by eight-year terms, and similarly face retention elections at the end of the provisional term and each subsequent full term.Limiting judges is a bad idea. Please learn more about the consequences before you cast your vote. This isn't a defendant or plaintiff issue, or a partisan Democrat or Republican issue. Several former prosecutors have joined defense lawyers in opposing the initiative. Protect the independence of our judiciary. Vote No on Amendment 40.