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People v. Coats.

2023 CO 44. No. 23SA114. Imposition of Discipline for Violation of Judicial Duties.

August 7, 2023

Former Chief Justice Nathan B. Coats appeared before the special tribunal of the Supreme Court for imposition of discipline based on violations of the duties of his office as a Supreme Court justice. The special tribunal was convened because the Court was required to recuse itself in this matter under Colorado Rule of Judicial Discipline (RJD) 41(b).

The Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline recommended approval of the amended stipulation for public censure, which Coats and the commission executed pursuant to RJD 37(e). The amended stipulation included admissions that “Coats failed to ‘perform judicial and administrative duties competently and diligently’ as required by Canon Rule 2.5(A) of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct” and that “[b]y allowing the Judicial Department to contract with the former Chief of Staff after she had resigned in lieu of termination from the [State Court Administrator’s Office], former Chief Justice Coats undermined the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and failed to exercise diligence in the performance of his administrative duties.”

Consistent with the amended stipulation and the commission’s recommendation, the special tribunal issued an order publicly censuring Coats.

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

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