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TCL > September 2007 Issue > Court Business

September 2007       Vol. 36, No. 9       Page  125
From the Courts
Court Business

Court Business

Visit the related court’s website for complete text of rule changes or proposed rule changes issued by the court. Each court’s website includes corresponding forms, which are not printed in Court Business, and versions with highlights of revisions (deletions and additions).


Colorado Supreme Court Rules Committee

Rule Change 2007(08)
Chapter 18, Colorado Court Rules
Rules Governing Admission to the Bar
(New) RULE 223. Pro Bono/Emeritus Attorney

Statement of Purpose. To provide a licensing status to allow retired or inactive attorneys to provide pro bono legal services to the indigent through nonprofit entities as defined in part 1, below.

(1) A pro bono/emeritus attorney may, under the auspices of a Colorado nonprofit entity whose purpose is or includes the provision of pro bono legal representation to indigent or near-indigent persons, act as legal counsel on behalf of a person seeking representation through such entity.

(2) To act in such a capacity the pro bono/emeritus attorney must be either:

(a) An attorney admitted to practice law in Colorado who:

(i) is now on inactive status;

(ii) is in good standing;

(iii) has no pending disciplinary proceeding; and

(iv) will not receive or expect compensation or other direct or indirect pecuniary gain for the legal services rendered; or

(b) An attorney not admitted to practice in Colorado who meets the following conditions:

(i) is licensed to practice law and is on active, inactive, or equivalent status in another jurisdiction in the United States;

(ii) is in good standing in all courts and jurisdictions in which he or she is admitted to practice;

(iii) has no pending disciplinary proceeding;

(iv) agrees to be subject to the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, the rules of procedure regarding attorney discipline and disability proceedings, and the remedies set forth in C.R.C.P. 234(a);

(v) limits his or her practice to acting as pro bono counsel as set forth in this rule and will not receive or expect compensation or other direct or indirect pecuniary gain for the legal services rendered hereunder; and

(vi) completes the application described herein and pays a one-time administrative fee of $50.00, payable to The Clerk of the Colorado Supreme Court and collected by the Attorney Registration Office. The application shall contain:

(A) A certification that the attorney agrees to the provisions of paragraphs (2)(b)(iv) & (v), above; and

(B) A certification that the attorney is in good standing in all courts and jurisdictions in which he or she is admitted to practice, and has no pending disciplinary proceeding in any jurisdiction.

(c) An attorney approved under this rule shall be assigned a certification number, which shall be used to identify the attorney’s status as a pro bono/emeritus attorney.

(3) All fees collected by the Attorney Registration Office under this rule shall be used to fund the Attorney Regulation System.

(4) Pro bono/emeritus attorneys shall not be required to pay annual registration fees

(5) All pro bono/emeritus attorneys shall annually file a registration statement on or before February 28 of each year identifying the organized nonprofit entity or entities, as described in section (1) of this rule, for which the attorney is currently volunteering at the time of filing the registration statement or volunteered in the prior calendar year. In lieu of filing such a registration statement, the attorney may pay the registration fee that was applicable in the prior calendar year for registered inactive attorneys pursuant to C.R.C.P. 227(A) and, thereby, avoid termination of her or his pro/bono emeritus status. Failure of a pro bono/emeritus attorney to file a registration statement or pay the applicable prior year’s inactive attorney registration fee by February 28 of each year shall result in automatic termination of pro bono/emeritus status.

(6) This Rule shall not preclude a nonprofit entity from receiving court-awarded attorney fees for representation provided by a pro bono/emeritus attorney and shall not preclude a pro bono/emeritus attorney from receiving reimbursement for otherwise recoverable costs incurred in representing a pro bono client.

Adopted by the Court, En Banc, June 28, 2007, effective July 1, 2007.

BY THE COURT:

Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr., Justice
Colorado Supreme Court


Colorado Judicial Department
Colorado Supreme Court
Judicial Ethics Advisory Board Opinions

Colorado Supreme Court
Judicial Ethics Advisory Board (C.J.E.A.B.)
C.J.E.A.B. Advisory Opinion 2007-08
(Finalized and Effective July 31, 2007)

ISSUE PRESENTED

The requesting judge belongs to the Colorado Bar Association (CBA) and represents District Court Judges on the CBA’s Board of Governors (BOG). He has been asked to sit on two BOG task forces, one devoted to Judicial Performance Commissions and the other focused on the death penalty. Both task forces were created as a result of legislation that was introduced in the last legislative session or is expected to be introduced in the next legislative session, and both task forces are charged with considering whether the CBA should take a position on these issues if bills are introduced in the future. The task forces would make a recommendation to the BOG whether a position should be taken and in turn the BOG would make a recommendation to the CBA Executive Council; the Executive Council would ultimately determine the CBA’s position. The judge asks whether, consistent with the Code of Judicial Conduct, he may serve on either or both of the task forces.

CONCLUSIONS

The judge may serve on both task forces. He should, however, reassess the propriety of his involvement if the focus of the death penalty task force goes beyond merely recommending that the CBA take a position.

APPLICABLE CANONS OF THE COLORADO CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT

Canon 4 encourages a judge to engage in quasi-judicial activities to improve the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, “subject to the performance of his or her judicial duties.” Canon 4B specifies that a judge may consult with, or appear at a public hearing before an executive or legislative body or an official thereof, on matters concerning the law, the legal system, the administration of justice, or the role of the judiciary as an independent branch within our system of government. Canon 4C states that a judge is encouraged to serve as a member, officer, or director of an organization or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, the judicial branch or the administration of justice.

DISCUSSION

The judge’s proposed service on the two CBA task forces involve quasi-judicial activity, and thus is governed by Canon 4. The Board’s analysis here is informed in part by the advisory opinions interpreting that Canon which it has issued, including 2007-07 and 2006-08.

The Board concludes that the judge’s proposed service on the task force devoted to considering whether the CBA should take a position on Judicial Performance Commissions constitutes quasi-judicial activity designed to improve the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, and thus falls squarely within the ambit of Canon 4. The judge’s service on the task force does not pose a conflict with the Canons, and we conclude that he may serve on that task force.

The judge’s proposed service on the death penalty task force, while also a Canon 4 activity implicating the law, legal system, and administration of justice, potentially presents a closer question. As the task force is presently constituted, it will determine only whether the CBA should take a position on legislation related to the death penalty that might be introduced in the future, not what that position should be. Thus, in light of this limited role, we conclude that the judge may serve on the task force.

However, we encourage the judge to reevaluate the propriety of his participation if the role of the task force expands to include taking a position on the death penalty because such a position could cause his impartiality in a death penalty case that comes before him to be questioned. Cf. Mass. Ad. Op. 97-5, Wisc. Ad. Op. 06-1. Hence, an expanded role of the task force could adversely affect “the proper performance” of the judge’s “judicial duties.”

FINALIZED AND EFFECTIVE by the Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board this 31st day of July 2007.


Barbara Crowfoot (citizen member)
Hon. Martin Foster Egelhoff (judge member)
Daniel S. Hoffman, Esq. (attorney member)
Hon. Morris W. Sandstead, Jr. (judge member)
Hon. Pattie P. Swift (judge member/board chair)
Prof. Emeritus James E. Wallace (law professor member)
Hon. John R. Webb (judge member)
Eileen M. Kiernan-Johnson, Esq. (staff to the board)


United States District Court for the District of Colorado

Full Public Notice for Reappointment of
Incumbent Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland
Comments Due: September 28, 2007

The current term of office of U.S. Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, is due to expire on February 8, 2008. The U.S. District Court is required by law to establish a panel of citizens to consider the reappointment of the magistrate judge to a new eight-year term.

The duties of a magistrate judge in this court include the following:

1) conduct preliminary proceedings in criminal cases;

2) trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases;

3) conduct various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings on delegation from a district judge; and

4) trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants.

Comments from members of the bar and the public are invited as to whether the incumbent magistrate judge should be recommended by the panel for reappointment by the court. All comments should be directed to: Human Resources Division, U.S. Courts, 1929 Stout St., Ste. C102, Denver, CO 80294; or send by facsimile to (303) 335-2495

Comments must be received by September 28, 2007.


Full Public Notice for Reappointment of
Incumbent Magistrate Judge David L. West
Comments Due: September 28, 2007

The current term of office of U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. West for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, Durango, Colorado, is due to expire on January 8, 2008. The U.S. District Court is required by law to establish a panel of citizens to consider the reappointment of the magistrate judge to a new four-year term.

The duties of a magistrate judge in this court include the following:

1) conduct preliminary proceedings in criminal cases;

2) trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases;

3) conduct various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings on delegation from a district judge; and

4) trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants.

Comments from members of the bar and the public are invited as to whether the incumbent magistrate judge should be recommended by the panel for reappointment by the court. All comments should be directed to: Human Resources Division, U.S. Courts, 1929 Stout St., Ste. C102, Denver, CO 80294; or send by facsimile to (303) 335-2495.

Comments must be received by September 28, 2007.

© 2007 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved. Material from The Colorado Lawyer provided via this World Wide Web server is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and may not be reproduced in any way or medium without permission. This material also is subject to the disclaimers at http://www.cobar.org/tcl/disclaimer.cfm?year=2007.


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