Bill Adds Layer in Review of Judicial Disqualifications

by Hannah Garcia

A bill making its way through the Colorado House of Representatives aims to bolster accountability when judges rule on motions to remove them from pending trials.

House Bill 1132 would impose certain requirements if a judge does not grant a motion to recuse or disqualify and builds in an automatic appeal that takes the decision out of the sitting judge’s hands and gives it to a higher-ranking judge.

The legislation was laid over for further consideration during a March 16 House Judiciary Committee hearing but will likely appear again for consideration before the session is over.

The bill’s sponsors and its supporters claim a need for a “second set of eyes” in civil proceedings when a judge is asked to remove herself or himself from a case, but opponents and other skeptical lawmakers expressed concerns over adding an unnecessary layer of review when other avenues for relief exist and the possibility of imposing administrative burdens on the courts.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the March 27, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.