A judge steps down

By most accounts, U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham was a fair and talented jurist, even if he did occasionally lose his temper at unprepared attorneys.

But Nottingham’s personal life was something else entirely, and it ultimately cost him his job. Nottingham, a former Grand Junction resident, resigned from the federal bench Tuesday, amid allegations that he asked a prostitute to lie about their relationship. A brief statement released by his attorney said that Nottingham was “deeply remorseful” for his actions.

Nottingham attended high school in Grand Junction and was in private practice here in the late 1980s, until he was named a federal judge by the first President Bush. At the time of his resignation, he was the chief judge for the federal court based in Denver.

But Nottingham’s personal life became an issue last year during divorce proceedings when it was revealed he spent $3,000 over two days at a Denver strip club. The information about the prostitute was revealed in a Denver television news report last week.

The 10th Circuit Judicial Council has launched an investigation into multiple charges of misconduct involving Nottingham. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals oversees federal courts in six Western states, including Colorado.

It’s sad to witness such an end to what has been a solid judicial career, especially when the judge in question is from this area. However, given the nature of the allegations — which Nottingham did not dispute in his statement — he had little choice but to resign. People have a right to expect that those who officially sit in judgment over them aren’t intentionally breaking the law or subverting the truth.


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