Colorado Supreme Court publicly censures ex-judge who tipped off friend to drug investigation

The Colorado Supreme Court publicly censured a former Weld County District Court judge Monday after finding the judge — who earlier this year pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge — also violated a variety of ethical and professional rules.

Former judge Ryan Kamada tipped off his friend that their mutual acquaintance was the target of a federal drug investigation after Kamada learned about the investigation when officers asked him to sign a search warrant, according to the censure.

Kamada texted his friend and warned the friend to stay away from the acquaintance because of the investigation; the friend then tipped off the acquaintance. Despite Kamada’s warning, both men were later arrested as part of the drug investigation.

Kamada also frequently texted his friends inappropriate comments about what was happening in his courtroom, alerting one friend to a finalized divorce and telling the friend the woman would be “free game tomorrow night,” according to the filing.

Kamada resigned from the bench in August 2019. He was disbarred this summer and will be sentenced in the federal criminal case in February.

“Then-Judge Kamada’s pattern of reckless disregard for confidential information undermined his office and the public’s confidence in the judiciary,” the censure reads. “In fact, his behavior interfered with a multi-agency law enforcement operation and resulted in a criminal conviction in federal court.”

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