Chief judge in Adams and Broomfield counties retires unexpectedly

Emily Anderson, the chief judge of trial courts in Adams and Broomfield counties, announced her retirement Monday just weeks after Denver Post stories reported about problems in the 17th Judicial District where she presided.

Some of those problems included accusations from other district judges that Anderson, in the job since May 2019, retaliated against them and made for a difficult work environment.

Anderson, 56, made the announcement in a district-wide email and said her decision to retire came “after much reflection” and “soul searching.”

“Let’s … not deny the obvious. Serving as chief judge of the 17th Judicial District, while fulfilling in so many ways, has been filled with extraordinary challenges,” Anderson wrote without offering specifics. “I knew I was stepping into the leadership of a court with some dysfunction and low morale,” she wrote. “I embraced the challenge with optimism and worked as hard as I could for the 17th Judicial District.”

Her retirement is effective Jan. 25, she said.

The Post reported how Anderson was at the center of several concerns described by other district court judges, including accusations that she used racially insensitive remarks, and intimidated another judge by trying to force her way into the judge’s chambers. The Post also reported how Anderson last year fired the district’s administrator for failing to report pornography on a judicial laptop, images he maintained his supervisor, the former chief judge, told him to make “go away” rather than turn over to law enforcement.

The challenges of running a judicial district amid a pandemic, with canceled or delayed criminal and civil trials, also weighed on Anderson, according to her email.

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