A Black judge will replace the white 18th Judicial District judge who was censured by the Colorado Supreme Court in April and resigned after she used a racial slur while on the job.
Three Black candidates have been named as finalists for Judge Natalie Chase’s job. Gov. Jared Polis will select one to fill the vacancy on the bench.
“I consider that serendipity,” said Senior Judge Gary Jackson, who has for years advocated for racial diversity among Colorado judges. “Some people would consider it karma. Whatever word you want to use, to me it’s a reflection that the world is changing and these types of slurs cannot be bantered about. Because it is so hurtful to so many of us.”
Chase was publicly disciplined by the Colorado Supreme Court in April in part because she questioned a Black employee about why white people couldn’t use a racial slur, which the censure described as “the N-word.” She apologized and agreed to resign as part of the disciplinary proceedings. Her resignation is effective May 31.
The Colorado Judicial Department on Wednesday named Arapahoe County Court Judge Cheryl Ann Rowles-Stokes and attorneys Marques Ivey and Cajardo Lindsey as finalists for the judgeship.
Rowles-Stokes previously served as a chief deputy district attorney in the 18th Judicial District before she was appointed as a county court judge by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2012, according to the judicial department. Ivey was a public defender in Denver and is now in private practice. Lindsey is a personal injury lawyer who served as a senior deputy district attorney in Denver and also briefly worked in the Denver City Attorney’s office.
None of the candidates immediately returned requests for comment Wednesday.
Jackson called the nominations of three Black candidates “a strong message to the legal community of the value of having a diverse bench.”
Polis now has 15 days in which to select one of the nominees as the next judge. Those who wish to submit feedback about the candidates can do so by emailing [email protected]
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