Judge and Prosecutor Admit Sexual Relationship

April 2007

I wrote here about allegations that Douglas County Judge Grafton Biddle, age 57, had an "office romance" with Deputy District Attorney Laurie Steinman, age 29, who appeared regularly in his court. Judge Biddle resigned and disciplinary proceedings are pending. Both could face suspension or disbarment. The Rocky Mountain News reports they have admitted having a sexual relationship.

A Douglas County judge and a female prosecutor admitted having sex in his chambers, and on more than one occasion he slipped into the women's showers at the courthouse so they could be together.

Here's my question: What should be the outcome? My only thought is that they should both be treated the same. Steinman should not be able to use her age and gender as a reason for lesser punishment. I don't know that she will, but if she does, I hope the disciplinary committee doesn't fall for such a sexist argument. She was not a stenographer or a secretary or his employee. She was an employee of the State, charged with representing the People of Colorado to ensure that justice was done. I don't care if she was 29 or 24 or 50. She knew, just as Judge Biddle did, that what they were doing was wrong. My point: The punishment, whatever it is, should be the same, regardless of gender and seniority. Update: You can read the disciplinary complaint and all the lurid details here (pdf).

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