This morning, Chief Justice Michael L. Bender addressed the General Assembly and delivered his State of the Judiciary address. He introduced the substance of his address this way: “Although adequate resources for court and probation functions are critical, I have not come here today to present budgetary needs. Instead, I will share some accomplishments, describe meeting the challenges posed by a struggling economy, and explain my goals for strengthening the judiciary.” Those accomplishments included:
- Colorado Springs Judge Crowder presides over a veteran’s trauma court that provides alternatives to incarceration for veterans with trauma disorders who are charged with felonies;
- Chief Judge Dennis Maes initiated and developed a truancy court in Pueblo;
- Building a statewide e-filing system for all cases;
- Adopting new procedures for water matters;
- Establishing community problem solving courts across the state such as veterans trauma, adult and juvenile drug, family dependence and neglect, DUI, adult and juvenile mental health, and truancy courts;
- Re-organizing the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, which is revising its rules to increase transparency;
- Initiating a pilot project to increase mandatory disclosure of information by the parties to their opponents and to streamline discovery procedures in both business cases and medical malpractice claims.
- Establishing a Chief Justice’s committee on the legal profession to develop initiatives and policies concerning: how students are taught to be practitioners in light of the historical role of lawyers in society; what are the appropriate qualifications for practice; how lawyers should treat both clients and fellow lawyers; and how judges and lawyers should treat each other;
- The educational outreach program “Our Courts Colorado,” initiated by Court of Appeals Judge Russell Carparelli and Federal District Court Judge Marcia Krieger and supported by the Colorado Bar Association and the Colorado Judicial Institute;
- Addressing the great need for additional judicial training through distance learning, regional meetings, scholarships to attend out-of-state offerings and pairing with other agencies to provide training;
- The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, built without any general fund impact.
HERE is a link to the full text of the speech, which includes a streaming video of his address.