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In the Matter of Chase.

2021 CO 23. No. 21SA91. Imposition of Discipline for Violating Duties of a District Court Judge.

April 16, 2021

The Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline recommended approval of the Stipulation for Public Censure executed pursuant to Colorado Rules of Judicial Discipline (RJD) 36(e) and 37(e). In the Stipulation, Judge Natalie T. Chase, who is white, admitted to the following: using a racial slur several times during a conversation with a Black family court facilitator; stating, while on a break during court, that she would be boycotting the Super Bowl because she objected to the NFL players who were kneeling during the national anthem; asking her law clerk to conduct legal research related to a personal family legal issue and to edit and rewrite her personal emails; asking a court employee to drive her to the emergency room and stay with her at the hospital, causing the employee to miss work; discussing personal and family matters while talking with staff and other employees in office work areas and as part of court business in a manner that was not dignified or courteous; and using derogatory language about a fellow judge in front of her law clerk.

The Supreme Court concluded that the terms of the Stipulation comply with RJD 37(e) and are supported by the record. The Court therefore ordered the Stipulation to become effective and publicly censured Judge Chase for failing to maintain the high standards of judicial conduct required of a judge; for violating Canon Rule 1.2, which requires that a judge at all times shall act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary; for violating Canon Rule 2.3, which prohibits a judge from manifesting bias or prejudice based on race or ethnicity by her words or actions; for violating Canon Rule 1.3, which prohibits a judge from abusing the prestige of the judicial office; and for violating Canon Rule 2.8, which requires a judge to be patient, dignified, and courteous. Further, the Court accepted Chase’s resignation as a judge in the Arapahoe County District Court.

Official Colorado Supreme Court proceedings can be found at the Colorado Supreme Court website.

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