Thursday, December 27, 2007

Judge Gone Wild

I will not comment on this, other than to say it isn't just happening in Denver, I'm sure.

Ex-judge's law license suspended over affair
By Kirk Mitchell The Denver Post

A former Douglas County judge's law license has been suspended for three years after he had an affair with a deputy district attorney who appeared in his court.
Grafton Minot Biddle, 58, was suspended Monday by Colorado Supreme Court Presiding Disciplinary Judge William Lucero.

Six months before he can apply to have his law license reinstated, Biddle must attend an ethics class, Lucero ruled.

The former deputy district attorney, Laurie Hurst, had already agreed to a three-year suspension of her law license.
Hurst, 30, previously known as Laurie Steinman, was fired on Dec. 22, 2006. Biddle resigned his position after Hurst was fired.

Hurst declined to comment today. Biddle also could not be reached for comment.

He did not appear in court for proceedings against his law license, Lucero's report and ruling says.

A complaint filed in April claimed the two had sex in the judge's chambers and that on a number of occasions, Biddle would "sneak" into the women's shower facilities in the courthouse early in the morning, Lucero's report says.

The affair began in the spring of 2006, as Hurst occasionally appeared in Biddle's courtroom when he was a magistrate in the First Arraignment Center. She appeared before the judge after plea agreements and to make sentencing recommendations, the judge's report says.

The affair ceased for a period of time and then resumed in the summer, when Biddle became a county court judge. Hurst again appeared before him during two trials, Lucero's report says. The judge and the prosecutor had trysts both inside and outside the court, it says.

Hurst attempted to destroy e-mails that revealed the nature of her relationship with the judge, according to the complaint, Lucero's report says.

When confronted about the affair by the court's presiding judge, Biddle denied the affair, it says. But after Biddle's wife submitted a letter to the presiding judge describing the affair, Biddle resigned immediately, Lucero's ruling says.

Lucero's ruling says that Hurst did not obtain any benefit because of the affair in the cases she presented before Biddle. However, he said the affair did harm the court.

"The facts established in the complaint reveal the danger the respondent poses to the public by way of his brazen disregard of his ethical duties, both as a lawyer and a public official," Lucero's report says.

Although Biddle's suspension lasts three years, there is no guarantee that he will be allowed to resume practicing law at the end of the term, Lucero said.

Biddle must prove his fitness to practice law at a hearing before he will be reinstated, he wrote.