Judge Marquez also botched press-freedom case

Not only does Judge Jose Marquez of the Colorado Court of Appeals have what amounts to an F grade on his official performance report for retention (but with a strange recommendation to be retained anyway on a 6-4 vote of the commission). Not only did he rank dead last (37% out of a possible 100) among the appeals court judges in our 1997-2005 scorecard of cases relating to Colorado’s economic growth, prosperity, and job creation.

Not only did he trample constitutional gun rights in the Trinen case, 2002.

Judge Marquez has also ruled that our First Amendment freedoms of press and speech are trumped by the supposed “privacy right” of a convicted felon not to have her crime and punishment described in a newsletter. That was his opinion in Ditmarr (1999), which fortunately was overruled by the Colorado Supreme Court. Here’s the summary we obtained from a Washington DC-based expert on appellate jurisprudence:

Ditmarr v. Joe Dickerson & Associates, L.L.C., 9 P.3d 1145 (Co.App. 1999), 34 P.3d 995 (2001).

A woman was convicted of felony theft of bonds belonging to an elderly customer of her employer. The private investigator firm that uncovered the theft published the story of its investigation and her conviction in its newsletter. The woman then sued the firm for “invasion of privacy”!

The trial court threw out her lawsuit, but Judge Marquez and two other judges on the Court of Appeals reinstated it. Judge Marquez, writing the opinion, said that if the story of the crime and conviction was for private investigator firm’s commercial benefit, the convicted woman could sue for damages.

Happily, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned this decision. The fundamental fact in this case, the Supreme Court held, is that the article related to the arrest and circumstances of a felony conviction—a matter of legitimate public concern. The publication of the story is protected by our constitution.