A committee of judges from the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver will review a D.C. federal appeals court’s dismissal of a misconduct complaint against retired chief Judge Richard W. Roberts of the federal district court in Washington.
The order Tuesday was disclosed in a letter from Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court, who is no relation to the retired judge.
Richard Roberts stepped down in the District unexpectedly March 16, citing health reasons.
On that same day, a lawsuit also was filed by a Utah woman who accuses Richard Roberts of sexually assaulting her decades ago when she was a 16-year-old witness in a murder trial he was prosecuting.
Attorneys for the retired judge have called the woman’s assertions “categorically false” and said the judge had an “intimate relationship” with the woman that was “entirely consensual” and occurred after the trial.
On March 7, acting chief judge Karen L. Henderson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed a complaint against Richard Roberts brought by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (R), whose office had commissioned an investigation of the woman’s allegations. In dismissing the complaint, Henderson said it had been rendered moot by Richard Roberts’s retirement.
Reyes’s office asked for Henderson’s decision to be reviewed by the D.C. Circuit, which referred it to the chief justice. The review by a council of federal appeals and trial court judges in Denver could determine whether Roberts, a 1998 Clinton appointee, remains eligible to receive his full salary for life as a retired judge.