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In the Matter of Gunkel.

2021 CO 30. No. 20SA409. Imposition of Discipline for Violating Duties of a County Court Judge.

May 13, 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 Gunkel admitted to the following: pleading guilty to DUI and careless driving in 2018 and receiving a deferred sentence of two years; being charged in 2019 with DUI and failure to have an interlock device operating in her vehicle, in violation of the deferred sentence; having her deferred sentence revoked and being convicted of DUI for the first offense; and receiving a conviction for DUI-second offense based on the 2019 charges. Judge Gunkel also agreed to waive her right to a hearing in formal proceedings and to an appeal, and to retire from her judicial office no later than three days following the filing of the Stipulation with the Court.

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 Gunkel for failing to maintain the high standards of judicial conduct required of a judge; for violating Canon Rule 1.2, which requires a judge, at all times, to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary; and for violating Canon Rule 1.3, which prohibits a judge from abusing the prestige of the judicial office. Further, the Court accepted Judge Gunkel’s retirement as a judge from the Baca County Court.

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

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