Colorado judge accused of using AR-15-style rifle to threaten another person

Colorado District Court Judge Mark Thompson is accused of using an AR-15-style rifle to threaten another person on July 25, court documents made public Wednesday revealed.

Thompson, who at the time served as the chief judge for the Fifth Judicial District, was charged with felony menacing on Saturday, nearly three months after the incident. The Fifth Judicial District covers Summit, Clear Creek, Eagle and Lake counties.

The name of the victim was redacted from a complaint filed against the judge, and the document did not include any details about how or where in Summit County the incident unfolded. July 25 was a Sunday.

Menacing with a real or simulated weapon is a Class 5 felony, and is typically punished with one to three years in prison, followed by parole, according to the state’s sentencing guidelines.

People commit felony menacing if they purposely make someone fear being seriously injured and if, while doing so, they either use a deadly weapon or something that looks like a weapon, or tell the victim they are armed with a deadly weapon, according to state law.

Thompson was removed from his leadership position as chief judge when the charge was filed, and has been on planned paid time off. When he returns to work, he’ll resume his duties as a judge, but not as chief judge, according to the Colorado Judicial Branch.

The Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s office requested that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation take on the investigation on July 25. Because of the obvious conflicts of interest, First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King’s office, which covers Jefferson and Gilpin counties, will handle the case as special prosecutors. CBI provided a report on its investigation to King’s office on Sept. 2, spokeswoman Susan Medina said.

Court records in the case were initially kept secret at the request of Fifth Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum, who said in a filing that secrecy was necessary in part because Thompson was a “prominent member of the Summit County community and a public official” and because publicly revealing details of the case “could jeopardize the ongoing investigation and/or interfere with the rights of the defendant, including irreversible harm to reputation.”

A judge reversed that decision Wednesday and ordered the documents be redacted, then made public.

Thompson’s attorney did not immediately return requests for comment.

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