5th Judicial District judge who threatened stepson with AR-15-style rifle retires

Judge Mark Thompson says in resignation letter that “personal circumstances leave me no alternative”

Shelly Bradbury
The Denver Post
Chief Judge Mark Thompson wears a mask in the courtroom during a hearing at the Summit County Justice Center in Breckenridge on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Thompson submitted a letter of resignation Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. The resignation is effective Jan. 13.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive

Editor’s note: This story was updated to clarify that Judge Mark Thompson retired from his position.

A Colorado judge who threatened his stepson with an AR-15-style rifle during an argument in 2021 submitted a retirement notice Sunday.

Mark Thompson, who served as chief judge for Summit, Clear Creek, Eagle and Lake counties until he was demoted and then temporarily suspended for threatening his stepson in July 2021, retired because of “personal circumstances,” according to retirement letters he submitted Sunday to Fifth Judicial Chief Judge Paul Dunkelman and State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Boatright.

The retirement will take effect Jan. 13, he wrote in the letters, obtained by The Denver Post on Tuesday.

Thompson was removed from his leadership position as chief judge for the Fifth Judicial District and later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in connection with the 2021 threat. But he was allowed to continue serving as a judge for the district, working solely on non-criminal cases during a year-long disciplinary probation period.

Thompson pointed an AR-15-style rifle at his stepson’s chest during an argument while the judge was under “significant emotional strain” from both illness and death in his family, and threats to his life related to his work as a judge, a disciplinary investigation found.

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