Colorado Judge Resigns After Demeaning Ethnic Emails Surface

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 15, 2019 12:00 PM

The internet is not really forever, but it can change your life forever.

Judge Laurie Booras, a Colorado appeals court judge, knows that now. She sent some email messages with demeaning, ethnic references that basically ended her career.

Perhaps Booras thought her email was a private joke between friends. But she should have known it was no excuse for racism on the bench.

Removed From Office

The Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline recommended Booras be removed from office based on the email. Booras then announced her resignation effective Jan. 31, 2019.

According to reports, Booras referred to a fellow appeals judge, a Latina, as "the Little Mexican." In another email, Booras called her ex-husband's wife, who is Native American, "the squaw."

The issue came to light last year when a California man said he ended a 10-year affair with the judge. John Sakowicz claimed the judge stalked him, including sending their amorous email to his wife.

In the disciplinary proceedings, Booras admitted sending the offensive messages. Her lawyers contended, however, that the email were private communications protected by the First Amendment.

Cost of Discipline

The commission panel, appointed by the Colorado Supreme Court, found the messages violated ethics rules. Among others, judges should avoid impropriety and refrain from activities that undermine their integrity.

"Words are the art of an appellate judge who is trained to consider what she is writing before she sends off a written communication containing them," the panel wrote. The commission also assessed Booras $5,442 for the cost of investigation and hearing.

Although Booras has resigned, the Colorado Supreme Court may proceed to remove her from office. That sanction would be tantamount to a crime, and jeopardize her retirement.

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