Colorado Supreme Court censures, accepts Arapahoe Co. judge’s resignation amid racist behavior

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DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Supreme Court has accepted an Arapahoe County judge’s resignation after she made racist remarks and committed other violations while she was working. It also agreed to publicly censure Natalie Chase. She was a judge for the 18th Judicial District.

Natalie Chase (Courtesy: Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation)

According to court documents, early last year during a work trip to Pueblo, Chase asked a Black family court facilitator why Black people can use the N-word even though white people can’t. She also asked the employee if the word carried a different meaning if it ends with an “a” instead of an “er.” She also used the word several times during the conversation and the employee said she was uncomfortable because she couldn’t leave the car or the conversation.

In February 2020 while she was on the bench, someone brought up the Super Bowl. Chase stated that she would be boycotting the game because of the NFL players who were kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.

Another incident occurred after the George Floyd protests last year. While two Black court employees were discussing the protests, Chase referenced her opinions about racial justice matters while she was on the bench. When one of the employees tried to explain the Black Lives Matter movement, Chase told the employees that all lives matter. She did state that the police officer’s actions should be investigated.

Chase also used a derogatory remark to refer to another judge while talking about a meeting she had with another court employee.

Court documents show she committed several other violations that weren’t racist in nature including an instance where she asked her law clerk to research legal issues related to a family matter of her own. She also discussed issues related to her personal and family life in a manner that “was not dignified or courteous.”

Chase was first appointed to the bench in 2014 by former Gov. John Hickenlooper. In 2016, the 18th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommended to retain her.

Prior to her appointment to the bench, Chase was in private practice as the co-owner of Shafer & Chase, LLC, a law firm specializing in criminal defense, domestic relations and estate planning. 

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