Mesa County judge resigns amid disciplinary investigation

A Mesa County District Court judge resigned Monday amid an ongoing disciplinary investigation.

Lance P. Timbreza was suspended from his duties with pay in June amid a disciplinary investigation by the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, the entity responsible for investigating the state’s judges for violations of professional conduct. He never returned to work before submitting his resignation Monday.

“I will always cherish my time on the bench,” he wrote in a Monday resignation letter to Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Boatright. Timbreza could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Although the Colorado Supreme Court issued a public order June 9 temporarily suspending Timbreza from his duties during the pending investigation, the reason for the investigation and suspension are secret and will remain confidential “unless or until a recommendation for sanctions or a recommendation for approval of a stipulated resolution is filed with the Court,” according to the suspension order.

Most judicial discipline is kept secret in Colorado, with the state’s constitution cloaking all but the most egregious cases in confidentiality. Colorado lawmakers are currently considering amending the constitution to make the process more transparent.

Chris Gregory, executive director of the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, said Tuesday that he could not share any information about Timbreza’s case. But he said that generally, the commission seeks a temporary suspension only if the judge’s alleged misconduct presents an immediate concern of additional harm should he stay on the bench.

“If a judge continues to hold office and there’s a risk of harm because of that — and the harm can just be damage to the reputation of the judiciary — those are the circumstances where we would seek a suspension,” he said.

The commission’s rules also state that the commission can request a temporary suspension during a pending investigation if the judge in question fails to cooperate with the commission.

The disciplinary investigation can continue despite Timbreza’s resignation. His brief letter of resignation offered no detail on why he resigned.

Timbreza was appointed as a judge by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2016. In 2019, he was disciplined by the Colorado Supreme Court and suspended for 28 days after he was arrested for driving while drunk.

In that case, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while impaired. He was ordered to spend two days in jail, to be waived if he completed a year of unsupervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a fine and complete 36 hours of public service.

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