CO Supreme Court censures Larimer judge over accusations of improper conduct
DENVER — The State Supreme Court censured a Larimer County judge over accusations that he acted improperly while in office, a court spokesman said Monday.
The county court judge, Robert A. Rand, had decided to resign as part of an agreement to end an investigation into his actions.
Rand was suspended on July 3 last year after the Commission on Judicial Discipline started an investigation of “numerous allegations of inappropriate or unethical conduct on the part of Judge Rand,” said Supreme Court spokesman Jon Sarché.
The suspension reason for the suspension was kept secret until today.
The accusations against Rand mostly included inappropriate comments he made and incidents where he appeared to show bias. Investigators talked to 21 people who said they saw Rand act inappropriately.
Rand said he tried to create a “friendly atmosphere in his courtroom, but this was misinterpreted by some,” according to a complaint.
In an interview with the Coloradoan newspaper, Rand said he was going to give up fighting the accusations and move to California.
“I’m not going to convince them and they’re not going convince me. I’m tired of fighting,” he said.
According to a request for public censure, Judge Rand, who was assigned to courtroom 4-D in Fort Collins would engage in “undignified conduct,” including joking one time about the physical weight of the court collection officer.
In another incident, Judge Rand “made a comment to his staff about the large breasts of a potential juror. Judge Rand joked that she looked like she might fall over,” the document said.
The accusations against Rand mostly came from female attorney’s or staffers and often regarded a woman’s appearance.
One former clerk reported that, in an attempt to be helpful, the judge told a defendant who was under 21 how to fake drinking in order to deal with peer pressure. “The clerk and the defendant’s mother complained stating that the judge, if he said anything, should have told the under-aged drinking to to put herself in situations where she was pressured to drink,” the document said.
Occasionally the complaints included accusations of favoritism. Several complains involved Judge Rand getting involved in plea negotiations, the document said.
Former clerks also reported that the judge would deal with personal business while at work including copying, scanning and faxing documents that were personal or financial in nature.
Many times clerks and human resources personnel would try and tell the judge that his behavior was inappropriate, the document said. Judge Rand would either ignore the suggestions or deny he was behaving inappropriately.
Even Chief Justice Stephen Schapanski tried to get Judge Rand to clean up his act.
“I worked with Judge Rand to address concerns regarding his treatment of staff, attorney’s and others who appeared in his court,” Schapanski said in a statement. “Those efforts, which spanned a number of months, did not lead to noticeable improvement.”
Rand’s decision to resign means there will be no formal hearing against him, said Commission Executive Director William Campbell.
The Supreme Court will now look for a replacement, he said.
Rand is a former defense attorney who was appointed to the bench in 2009. He received a law degree from the Florida State University College of Law and his undergraduate degree in criminology from Florida State University.