Lawyer suspended over accusations against Nevada Supreme Court justices
A panel of appointed district judges this week suspended Las Vegas lawyer James Colin because of his conduct after the Supreme Court rejected his client’s appeals in a death penalty case.
Colin represented Charles Lee Randolph, 53, who was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in 1998.
After losing that case and the appeal, Colin launched into a tirade against the high court, accusing justices of dishonesty, unethical behavior and a laundry list of other violations including illegally taking money to sit on the high court’s Library Commission — a duty they were authorized to receive payment for.
And Colin made the charges in a series of pleadings filed with the high court.
The panel of district judges appointed to review his conduct agreed with the State Bar and, in an opinion issued Thursday, ruled his conduct violated the rules by making false statements about the integrity of the justices and “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.”
Colin wrote, among other things, that, “The Nevada Supreme Court has no respect for the Nevada Constitution or the law of the United States of America. The court’s despicable and blatantly lawless actions have repeatedly proven this sad truth.”
He charged that: “The court works hard to this very day to break the law, make up lies and complete the judicial lynching of Charles Lee Randolph.”
He accused justices of being “drunk with power, acting like a lawless bully just lying and cheating to accomplish its evil objective to see Randolph dead,” and described them as “vindictive, dishonest and totally biased.”
The State Bar conducted a formal hearing that Colin failed to show up for. Afterward, the State Bar recommended Colin be suspended for a year and a day.
Throughout the dispute, he repeatedly called for disqualification of six of the high court members. Justice Lidia Stiglich was not a member of the court when all this occurred.
To avoid suggestions of bias, a panel of six district judges from around the state was appointed to review the bar recommendation.
That panel, headed by Stiglich, issued its opinion Thursday: “We conclude that the State Bar proved that Colin made statements in pleadings to the court concerning the integrity of several justices that he knew to be false or with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity.”
That, the opinion states, violates the ethical rules lawyers are required to follow.
They suspended him from practice for six months and a day and ordered that he pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam before getting his license back.
Colin represented Randolph in 1998 when he was tried and convicted of murder and six other felonies including kidnapping and robbery. He remains in prison at the Ely maximum security prison.