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Article VI, Colorado Constitution

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Colorado Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIIXIXXXXXIXXIIXXIIIXXIVXXVXXVIXXVIIXXVIIIXXIXSchedule
Article VI[1] of the Colorado Constitution is entitled Judicial Department.

Amendments

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Vestment of Judicial Power

The judicial power of the state shall be vested in a supreme court, district courts, a probate court in the city and county of Denver, a juvenile court in the city and county of Denver, county courts, and such other courts or judicial officers with jurisdiction inferior to the supreme court, as the general assembly may, from time to time establish; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to restrict or diminish the powers of home rule cities and towns granted under article XX, section 6 of this constitution to create municipal and police courts.

Amendments

Supreme Court

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Appellate Jurisdiction

(1) The supreme court, except as otherwise provided in this constitution, shall have appellate jurisdiction only, which shall be coextensive with the state, and shall have a general superintending control over all inferior courts, under such regulations and limitations as may be prescribed by law.

(2) Appellate review by the supreme court of every final judgment of the district courts, the probate court of the city and county of Denver, and the juvenile court of the city and county of Denver shall be allowed, and the supreme court shall have such other appellate review as may be provided by law. There shall be no appellate review by the district court of any final judgment of the probate court of the city and county of Denver or of the juvenile court of the city and county of Denver.

Amendments

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Original Jurisdiction ­Opinions

The supreme court shall have power to issue writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, certiorari, injunction, and such other original and remedial writs as may be provided by rule of court with authority to hear and determine the same; and each judge of the supreme court shall have like power and authority as to writs of habeas corpus. The supreme court shall give its opinion upon important questions upon solemn occasions when required by the governor, the senate, or the house of representatives; and all such opinions shall be published in connection with the reported decision of said court.

Amendments

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Terms

At least two terms of the supreme court shall be held each year, at the seat of government.

Amendments

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Personnel of Court ­Departments ­Chief Justice

(1) The supreme court shall consist of not less than seven justices, who may sit en banc or in departments. In case said court shall sit in departments, each of said departments shall have full power and authority of said court in the determination of causes, the issuing of writs and the exercise of all powers authorized by this constitution, or provided by law, subject to the general control of the court sitting en banc, and such rules and regulations as the court may make, but no decision of any department shall become judgment of the court unless concurred in by at least three justices, and no case involving construction of the constitution of this state or of the United States shall be decided except by the court en banc. Upon request of the supreme court, the number of justices may be increased to no more than nine members whenever two­thirds of the members of each house of the general assembly concur therein.

(2) The supreme court shall select a chief justice from its own membership to serve at the pleasure of a majority of the court, who shall be the executive head of the judicial system.

(3) The supreme court shall appoint a court administrator and such other personnel as the court may deem necessary to aid the administration of the courts. Whenever the chief justice deems assignment of a judge necessary to the prompt disposition of judicial business, he may:

(a) Assign any county judge, or retired county judge who consents, temporarily to perform judicial duties in any county court if otherwise qualified under section 18 of this article, or assign, as hereafter may be authorized by law, said judge to any other court; or
(b) assign any district, probate, or juvenile judge, or retired justice or district, probate, or juvenile judge who consents, temporarily to perform judicial duties in any court. For each day of such temporary service a retired justice or judge shall receive compensation in an amount equal to 1/20 of the monthly salary then currently applicable to the judicial position in which the temporary service is rendered.

(4) The chief justice shall appoint from the district judges of each judicial district a chief judge to serve at the pleasure of the chief justice. A chief judge shall receive no additional salary by reason of holding such position. Each chief judge shall have and exercise such administrative powers over all judges of all courts within his district as may be delegated to him by the chief justice.

Amendments

Section 6

Repealed November 8, 1966 by Colorado Judicial Tenure, Removal and Retirement, Issue 3 (1966).

Text of Section 6:

Election of Judges

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Term of Office

The full term of office of justices of the supreme court shall be ten years.

Amendments

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Qualifications of Justices

No person shall be eligible to the office of justice of the supreme court unless he shall be a qualified elector of the state of Colorado and shall have been licensed to practice law in this state for at least five years.

Amendments

District Courts

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

District Courts ­Jurisdiction

(1) The district courts shall be trial courts of record with general jurisdiction, and shall have original jurisdiction in all civil, probate, and criminal cases, except as otherwise provided herein, and shall have such appellate jurisdiction as may be prescribed by law.

(2) Effective the second Tuesday in January, 1965, all causes pending before the county court in each county, except those causes within the jurisdiction of the county court as provided by law, and except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, shall then be transferred to and pending in the district court of such county, and no bond or obligation given in any of said causes shall be affected by said transfer.

(3) In the city and county of Denver, exclusive original jurisdiction in all matters of probate, settlements of estates of deceased persons, appointment of guardians, conservators and administrators, and settlement of their accounts, the adjudication of the mentally ill, and such other jurisdiction as may be provided by law shall be vested in a probate court, created by section 1 of this article, and to which court all of such jurisdiction of the county court of the city and county of Denver shall be transferred, including all pending cases and matters, effective on the second Tuesday of January, 1965.

Amendments

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Judicial Districts ­District Judges

(1) The state shall be divided into judicial districts. Such districts shall be formed of compact territory and be bounded by county lines. The judicial districts as provided by law on the effective date of this amendment shall constitute the judicial districts of the state until changed. The general assembly may by law, whenever two­thirds of the members of each house concur therein, change the boundaries of any district or increase or diminish the number of judicial districts.

(2) In each judicial district there shall be one or more judges of the district court. The full term of office of a district judge shall be six years.

(3) The number of district judges provided by law for each district on the effective date of this amendment shall constitute the number of judges for the district until changed. The general assembly may by law, whenever two­thirds of the members of each house concur therein, increase or diminish the number of district judges, except that the office of a district judge may not be abolished until completion of the term for which he was elected or appointed, but he may be required to serve in a judicial district other than the one for which elected, as long as such district encompasses his county of residence.

(4) Separate divisions of district courts may be established in districts by law, or in the absence of any such law, by rule of court.

Amendments

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Qualifications of District Judges

No person shall be eligible to the office of district judge unless he shall be a qualified elector of the judicial district at the time of his election or selection and shall have been licensed to practice law in this state for five years. Each judge of the district court shall be a resident of his district during his term of office.

Amendments

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Terms of Court

The time of holding courts within the judicial districts shall be as provided by rule of court, but at least one term of the district court shall be held annually in each county.

Amendments

District Attorneys

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

District Attorneys ­Election Term ­Salary ­Qualifications

In each judicial district there shall be a district attorney elected by the electors thereof, whose term of office shall be four years. District attorneys shall receive such salaries and perform such duties as provided by law. No person shall be eligible to the office of district attorney who shall not, at the time of his election possess all the qualifications of district court judges as provided in this article. All district attorneys holding office on the effective date of this amendment shall continue in office for the remainder of the respective terms for which they were elected or appointed.

Amendments

Probate and Juvenile Courts

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Probate Court ­Jurisdiction Judges ­Election ­Term ­Qualifications

The probate court of the city and county of Denver shall have such jurisdiction as provided by section 9, subsection (3) of this article. The judge of the probate court of the city and county of Denver shall have the same qualifications and term of office as provided in this article for district judges and shall be elected initially by the qualified electors of the city and county of Denver at the general election in the year 1964. Vacancies shall be filled as provided in section 20 of this article. The number of judges of the probate court of the city and county of Denver may be increased as provided by law.

Amendments

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Juvenile Court ­Jurisdiction Judges ­Election ­Term ­Qualifications

The juvenile court of the city and county of Denver shall have such jurisdiction as shall be provided by law. The judge of the juvenile court of the city and county of Denver shall have the same qualifications and term of office as provided in this article for district judges and shall be elected initially by the qualified electors of the city and county of Denver at the general election in the year 1964. Vacancies shall be filled as provided in section 20 of this article. The number of judges of the juvenile court of the city and county of Denver may be increased as provided by law.

Amendments

County Courts

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

County Judges ­Terms ­Qualifications

In each county there shall be one or more judges of the county court as may be provided by law, whose full term of office shall be four years, and whose qualifications shall be prescribed by law. County judges shall be qualified electors of their counties at the time of their election or appointment.

Amendments

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

County Courts ­Jurisdiction ­Appeals

County courts shall have such civil, criminal, and appellate jurisdiction as may be provided by law, provided such courts shall not have jurisdiction of felonies or in civil cases where the boundaries or title to real property shall be in question. Appellate review by the supreme court or the district courts of every final judgment of the county courts shall be as provided by law.

Amendments

Miscellaneous

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Compensation and Services

Justices and judges of courts of record shall receive such compensation as may be provided by law, which may be increased but may not be decreased during their term of office and shall receive such pension or retirement benefits as may be provided by law. No justice or judge of a court of record shall accept designation or nomination for any public office other than judicial without first resigning from his judicial office, nor shall he hold at any other time any other public office during his term of office, nor hold office in any political party organization, nor contribute to or campaign for any political party or candidate for political office. No supreme court justice, judge of any intermediate appellate court, district court judge, probate judge, or juvenile judge shall engage in the practice of law. Justices, district judges, probate judges, and juvenile judges when called upon to do so, may serve in any state court with full authority as provided by law. Any county judge may serve in any other county court, or serve, as hereinafter may be authorized by law, in any other court, if possessing the qualifications prescribed by law for a judge of such county court, or other court, or as a municipal judge or police magistrate as provided by law, or in the case of home rule cities as provided by charter and ordinances.

Amendments

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Laws Relating to Courts ­Uniform

All laws relating to state courts shall be general and of uniform operation throughout the state, and except as hereafter in this section specified the organization, jurisdiction, powers, proceedings, and practice of all courts of the same class, and the force and effect of the proceedings, judgments and decrees of such courts severally shall be uniform. County courts may be classified or graded as may be provided by law, and the organization, jurisdiction, powers, proceedings, and practice of county courts within the same class or grade, and the force and effect of the proceedings, judgments and decrees of county courts in the same class or grade shall be uniform; provided, however, that the organization and administration of the county court of the city and county of Denver shall be as provided in the charter and ordinances of the city and county of Denver.

Amendments

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Vacancies

(1) A vacancy in any judicial office in any court of record shall be filled by appointment of the governor, from a list of three nominees for the supreme court and any intermediate appellate court, and from a list of two or three nominees for all other courts of record, such list to be certified to him by the supreme court nominating commission for a vacancy in the supreme court or a vacancy in any intermediate appellate court, and by the judicial district nominating commission for a vacancy in any other court in that district. In case of more than one vacancy in any such court, the list shall contain not less than two more nominees than there are vacancies to be filled. The list shall be submitted by the nominating commission not later than thirty days after the death, retirement, tender of resignation, removal under section 23, failure of an incumbent to file a declaration under section 25, or certification of a negative majority vote on the question of retention in office under section 25 hereof. If the governor shall fail to make the appointment (or all of the appointments in case of multiple vacancies) from such list within fifteen days from the day it is submitted to him, the appointment (or the remaining appointments in case of multiple vacancies) shall be made by the chief justice of the supreme court from the same list within the next fifteen days. A justice or judge appointed under the provisions of this section shall hold office for a provisional term of two years and then until the second Tuesday in January following the next general election. A nominee shall be under the age of seventy­two years at the time his name is submitted to the governor.

(2) All justices and judges of courts of record holding office on the effective date of this constitutional amendment shall continue in office for the remainder of the respective terms for which they were elected or appointed. Retention in office thereafter shall be by election as prescribed in section 25.

(3) Other vacancies occurring in judicial offices shall be filled as now or hereafter provided by law.

(4)Vacancies occurring in the office of district attorney shall be filled by appointment of the governor. District attorneys appointed under the provisions of this section shall hold office until the next general election and until their successors elected thereat shall be duly qualified. Such successors shall be elected for the remainder of the unexpired term in which the vacancy was created.

Amendments

Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Rule­making Power

The supreme court shall make and promulgate rules governing the administration of all courts and shall make and promulgate rules governing practice and procedure in civil and criminal cases, except that the general assembly shall have the power to provide simplified procedures in county courts for claims not exceeding five hundred dollars and for the trial of misdemeanors.

Amendments

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Process ­Prosecution ­in Name of People

In all prosecutions for violations of the laws of Colorado, process shall run in the name of "The People of the State of Colorado"; all prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by the authority of "The People of the State of Colorado", and conclude, "against the peace and dignity of the same".

Amendments

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Retirement and Removal of Justices and Judges

(1) On attaining the age of seventy­two a justice or judge of a court of record shall retire and his judicial office shall be vacant, except as otherwise provided in section 20 (2).

(2) Whenever a justice or judge of any court of this state has been convicted in any court of this state or of the United States or of any state, of a felony or other offense involving moral turpitude, the supreme court shall, of its own motion or upon petition filed by any person, and upon finding that such a conviction was had, enter its order suspending said justice or judge from office until such time as said judgment of conviction becomes final, and the payment of salary of said justice or judge shall also be suspended from the date of such order. If said judgment of conviction becomes final, the supreme court shall enter its order removing said justice or judge from office and declaring his office vacant and his right to salary shall cease from the date of the order of suspension. If said judgment of conviction is reversed with directions to enter a judgment of acquittal or if reversed for a new trial which subsequently results in a judgment of dismissal or acquittal, the supreme court shall enter its order terminating the suspension of said justice or judge and said justice or judge shall be entitled to his salary for the period of suspension. A plea of guilty or nolo contendere to such a charge shall be equivalent to a final conviction for the purpose of this section.

(3)

(a) There shall be a commission on judicial discipline. It shall consist of: Two judges of district courts and two judges of county courts, each selected by the supreme court; two citizens admitted to practice law in the courts of this state, neither of whom shall be a justice or judge, who shall have practiced in this state for at least ten years and who shall be appointed by the governor, with the consent of the senate; and four citizens, none of whom shall be a justice or judge, active or retired, nor admitted to practice law in the courts of this state, who shall be appointed by the governor, with the consent of the senate.
(b) Each member shall be appointed to a four­year term; except that one­half of the initial membership in each category shall be appointed to two­year terms, for the purpose of staggering terms. Whenever a commission membership prematurely terminates or a member no longer possesses the specific qualifications for the category from which he was selected, his position shall be deemed vacant, and his successor shall be appointed in the same manner as the original appointment for the remainder of his term. A member shall be deemed to have resigned if that member is absent from three consecutive commission meetings without the commission having entered an approval for additional absences upon its minutes. If any member of the commission is disqualified to act in any matter pending before the commission, the commission may appoint a special member to sit on the commission solely for the purpose of deciding that matter.
(c) No member of the commission shall receive any compensation for his services but shall be allowed his necessary expenses for travel, board, and lodging and any other expenses incurred in the performance of his duties, to be paid by the supreme court from its budget to be appropriated by the general assembly.
(d) A justice or judge of any court of record of this state, in accordance with the procedure set forth in this subsection (3), may be removed or disciplined for willful misconduct in office, willful or persistent failure to perform his duties, intemperance, or violation of any canon of the Colorado code of judicial conduct, or he may be retired for disability interfering with the performance of his duties which is, or is likely to become, of a permanent character.
(e) The commission may, after such investigation as it deems necessary, order informal remedial action; order a formal hearing to be held before it concerning the removal, retirement, suspension, censure, reprimand, or other discipline of a justice or a judge; or request the supreme court to appoint three special masters, who shall be justices or judges of courts of record, to hear and take evidence in any such matter and to report thereon to the commission. After a formal hearing or after considering the record and report of the masters, if the commission finds good cause therefore, it may take informal remedial action, or it may recommend to the supreme court the removal, retirement, suspension, censure, reprimand, or discipline, as the case may be, of the justice or judge. The commission may also recommend that the costs of its investigation and hearing be assessed against such justice or judge.
(f) Following receipt of a recommendation from the commission, the supreme court shall review the record of the proceedings on the law and facts and in its discretion may permit the introduction of additional evidence and shall order removal, retirement, suspension, censure, reprimand, or discipline, as it finds just and proper, or wholly reject the recommendation. Upon an order for retirement, the justice or judge shall thereby be retired with the same rights and privileges as if he retired pursuant to statute. Upon an order for removal, the justice or judge shall thereby be removed from office, and his salary shall cease from the date of such order. On the entry of an order for retirement or for removal of a judge, his office shall be deemed vacant.
(g) Prior to the filing of a recommendation to the supreme court by the commission against any justice or judge, all papers filed with and proceedings before the commission on judicial discipline or masters appointed by the supreme court, pursuant to this subsection (3), shall be confidential, and the filing of papers with and the giving of testimony before the commission or the masters shall be privileged; but no other publication of such papers or proceedings shall be privileged in any action for defamation; except that the record filed by the commission in the supreme court continues privileged and a writing which was privileged prior to its filing with the commission or the masters does not lose such privilege by such filing.
(h) The supreme court shall by rule provide for procedures before the commission on judicial discipline, the masters, and the supreme court. The rules shall also provide the standards and degree of proof to be applied by the commission in its proceedings. A justice or judge who is a member of the commission or supreme court shall not participate in any proceedings involving his own removal or retirement.
(i) Nothing contained in this subsection (3) shall be construed to have any effect on article XIII of this constitution.
(j) This subsection (3) shall take effect July 1, 1983, and the procedures therein shall be applicable to any actions pending on that date. The term of office of any member of the commission serving on July 1, 1983, shall terminate on that date, but nothing in this subsection (3) shall prohibit any member from succeeding himself on the commission.

Amendments

Section 24

Adopted November 8, 1966 ­­ Effective January 17, 1967. (See Laws 1967, chapter 455.)

Text of Section 24:

Judicial Nominating Commissions

(1) There shall be one judicial nominating commission for the supreme court and any intermediate appellate court to be called the supreme court nominating commission and one judicial nominating commission for each judicial district in the state.

(2) The supreme court nominating commission shall consist of the chief justice or acting chief justice of the supreme court, ex officio, who shall act as chairman and shall have no vote, one citizen admitted to practice law before the courts of this state and one other citizen not admitted to practice law in the courts of this state residing in each congressional district in the state, and one additional citizen not admitted to practice law in the courts of this state. No more than one­half of the commission members plus one, exclusive of the chief justice, shall be members of the same political party. Three voting members shall serve until December 31, 1967, three until December 31, 1969, and three until December 31, 1971. Thereafter each voting member appointed shall serve until the 31st of December of the 6th year following the date of his appointment.

(3) Each judicial district nominating commission shall consist of a justice of the supreme court designated by the chief justice, to serve at the will of the chief justice who shall act as chairman ex officio, and shall have no vote, and seven citizens residing in that judicial district, no more than four of whom shall be members of the same political party and there shall be at least one voting member from each county in the district. In all judicial districts having a population of more than 35,000 inhabitants as determined by the last preceding census taken under the authority of the United States, the voting members shall consist of three persons admitted to practice law in the courts of this state and four persons not admitted to practice law in the courts of this state. In judicial districts having a population of 35,000 inhabitants or less as determined above, at least four voting members shall be persons not admitted to practice law in the courts of this state; and it shall be determined by majority vote of the governor, the attorney general and the chief justice, how many, if any, of the remaining three members shall be persons admitted to practice law in the courts of this state. Two voting members shall serve until December 31, 1967, two until December 31, 1969, and three until December 31, 1971. Thereafter each voting member appointed shall serve until the 31st of December of the 6th year following the date of his appointment.

(4) Members of each judicial nominating commission selected by reason of their being citizens admitted to practice law in the courts of this state shall be appointed by majority action of the governor, the attorney general and the chief justice. All other members shall be appointed by the governor. No voting member of a judicial nominating commission shall hold any elective and salaried United States or state public office or any elective political party office and he shall not be eligible for reappointment to succeed himself on a commission. No voting member of the supreme court nominating commission shall be eligible for appointment as a justice of the supreme court or any intermediate appellate court so long as he is a member of that commission and for a period of three years thereafter; and no voting member of a judicial district nominating commission shall be eligible for appointment to judicial office in that district while a member of that commission and for a period of one year thereafter.

Section 25

Adopted November 8, 1966 ­­ Effective January 17, 1967. (See Laws 1967, chapter 455.)

Text of Section 25:

Election of Justices and Judges

A justice of the supreme court or a judge of any other court of record, who shall desire to retain his judicial office for another term after the expiration of his then term of office shall file with the secretary of state, not more than six months nor less than three months prior to the general election next prior to the expiration of his then term of office, a declaration of his intent to run for another term. Failure to file such a declaration within the time specified shall create a vacancy in that office at the end of his then term of office. Upon the filing of such a declaration, a question shall be placed on the appropriate ballot at such general election, as follows:

"Shall Justice (Judge) .... of the Supreme (or other) Court be retained in office? YES/..../NO/..../." If a majority of those voting on the question vote "Yes", the justice or judge is thereupon elected to a succeeding full term. If a majority of those voting on the question vote "No", this will cause a vacancy to exist in that office at the end of his then present term of office.

In the case of a justice of the supreme court or any intermediate appellate court, the electors of the state at large; in the case of a judge of a district court, the electors of that judicial district; and in the case of a judge of the county court or other court of record, the electors of that county; shall vote on the question of retention in office of the justice or judge.

Section 26

Adopted November 8, 1966 ­­ Effective January 17, 1967. (See Laws 1967, chapter 455.)

Text of Section 26:

Denver County Judges

The provisions of sections 16, 20, 23, 24 and 25 hereof shall not be applicable to judges of the county court of the City and County of Denver. The number, manner of selection, qualifications, term of office, tenure, and removal of such judges shall be as provided in the charter and ordinances of the City and County of Denver.

References

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