July 18, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: PDJ’s Motion Alleging Probation Violations Filed Before Order for Successful Completion of Probation Issued

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In the Matter of Bass on Monday, June 24, 2013.

Attorney Discipline—CRCP 251.7.

Betty Bass appealed from the Presiding Disciplinary Judge’s (PDJ) denial of her motion filed pursuant to CRCP 60(b)(3) for relief from his earlier order revoking her probation and suspending her license to practice law. After a half dozen unsuccessful attempts to notify Bass of his show cause order, by mail and e-mail, over a period of approximately four months, the PDJ found Bass in default of the Attorney Regulation Counsel’s allegations of violation. After another six months, Bass filed her motion, requesting relief on the grounds that the order revoking her probation was void, both for failure to provide her adequate notice and for failure of regulation counsel to assert a violation until after the period of her probation had expired. Bass then asked for a ruling on the PDJ’s authority to proceed in the absence of a motion to revoke filed by regulation counsel before the expiration of the period of probation originally imposed on her.

The Supreme Court affirmed the order denying Bass’s motion. The Attorney Regulation Counsel’s motion alleging probation violations and seeking a show cause order was filed with the PDJ before the issuance of an order of successful completion of probation, as required by CRCP 251.7 for termination. Therefore, the PDJ was empowered by the rule to lift the stay and activate Bass’s suspension.

Summary and full case available here.

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