Calls Her Ouster 'Judicial Wilding'By Brian Maass

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– Arapahoe County District Court Judge Natalie Chase says in a new court filing she was forced to resign and accept a public censure in what she describes as “judicial wilding”: an inherently unfair proceeding that lacked due process and that she was treated far more harshly than male judges are treated.

The newly filed motion, obtained by CBS4, represents Chase’s first public response to her resignation, which takes effect Monday, May 31, and censure over her use of a racial slur and insensitive comments.

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Natalie Chase (credit: Colorado Office of Judicial Evaluation)

On April 16, Chase reached an agreement with the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline to resign and accept a public censure for use of the N-word with court employees who are Black, for making insensitive comments to Black court employees, directing her law clerk to do legal research on a personal family issue and discussing personal and family matters with employees in office work areas “in a manner that was not dignified or courteous.”

Chase was not accused of calling anyone the N-word, but of discussing the word with an employee.

Although Judge Chase expressed remorse and apologized for her conduct and agreed to the discipline, she is now seeking an injunction from the Colorado Supreme Court to stop her resignation. In the document filed this week, Chase said she “was denied any semblance of due process” by the Commission on Judicial Discipline.

“Judge Chase was forced to resign and accept a public censure,” reads the document, which goes on to state that Chase signed the April agreement “under duress and threats conveyed by the Colorado Judicial Discipline Commission.”

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Contacted by phone Friday, Chase’s attorney said he could not comment on the new motion seeking reconsideration of her resignation.

Cheryl Stevens, Clerk of the Colorado Supreme Court, told CBS4 the newly unfolding events are “unique.” Late Friday, the state’s highest court denied a motion, saying it would not hear the case. Chase’s resignation and censure still stand for now.

The reconsideration motion alleges the judicial commission “threatened unwarranted and more severe punishment if any… due process rights were pressed by her or advocate for her.” Chase says the Commission intended to mete out “harsher punishment” if she attempted to defend herself.

The filing notes that male judges who have acted unprofessionally have not lost their jobs.

“This jurist’s treatment was unique and driven by a force other than the law,” states the legal motion. “It was personal.”

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In addition to asking that her resignation and censure be at least temporarily lifted, Chase is asking to appear in court and make oral arguments.

Brian Maass