OCTOBER 22, 2008
A chief federal district judge in Colorado under investigation for multiple incidents of misconduct abruptly resigned this week after serving nearly two decades on the bench.
Jude Edward Nottingham, who recently presided over the high-profile insider-trading trial of a Denver communications executive, had been under investigation by the Tenth Circuit Judicial Council since last August for a variety of allegations. He quit before the council’s special committee released its findings.
In a statement published this week on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals web site, Chief Judge Robert Henry announced that Nottingham has ceased his judicial duties during a critical time in the investigation of multiple complaints of misconduct.
The statement doesn’t offer details but goes on to say that a special committee of the Judicial Council has conducted a thorough and extensive investigation, interviewed many witnesses, considered voluminous documentation and conducted two hearings.
A former U.S. Attorney appointed to the federal bench in 1989, Nottingham was being investigated for viewing adult web sites on the government computer in his chambers, occupying a disabled parking spot and improperly preventing a defense expert from testifying in the insider trading trial.
The defendant, former Chairman and Executive Officer of Denver-based Qwest Communications, got convicted in Nottingham’s court room but a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court ordered a new trial, saying Nottingham was wrong to prevent the defense expert’s testimony.
The next president will select Nottingham’s replacement. Federal judges are appointed for life, which means they only leave through death, retirement or impeachment. Only six federal judges have been impeached by Congress, among them a Democrat Florida congressman (Alcee Hastings) removed for perjury and bribery.
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