A Colorado judge who pointed an AR-15 style rifle at his adult stepson during an argument was censured by the state’s Supreme Court on Monday and suspended without pay for 30 days.
District Court Judge Mark D. Thompson pleaded guilty in January to disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon, a misdemeanor, in the July 2021 incident, and was sentenced to one year’s unsupervised probation, the court’s order said. He was also ordered to continue to seek anger management treatment.
According to a summary of what happened that the court said Thompson agreed to, a heated verbal confrontation with his 22-year-old stepson started after Thompson realized that his stepson was riding in a car that sped toward him as he walked his dog just after dark. Thompson told officials that his stepson appeared to be drunk, was confrontational and insisted on coming in Thompson’s home, the order said. Once they were inside, Thompson got the rifle out of a gun safe and pointed it at his stepson’s chest. Thompson told officials the gun was not loaded but acknowledged that his stepson said he said the gun was loaded, the order said.
The incident happened amid emotional strain on Thompson caused by death and illness in his family and threats made to his life because of his work as a judge, according to the order.
Thompson resigned as chief judge for the 5th Judicial District, which includes four mountain counties – Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit – after the incident but continued serving as a judge. He is barred from presiding over criminal cases until his probation is complete, the order said.
A telephone message and email sent to Thompson's attorney was not immediately returned.