There are lightning rods and then there’s John Sakowicz. Sako, as the ubiquitous County gadfly is widely known, regularly pops up in the local media and he has been the subject of national news stories. He is synonymous with controversy, the latest in Colorado. A March 30th letter to the editor of the Denver Post tells us that Sako has initiated a high profile case of kiss and tell.
“Let’s get this straight: John Sakowicz (of City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Calif.) and Colorado Appeals Court Judge Laurie A. Booras had an alleged consensual, adulterous, long-term sexual affair despite Sakowicz’s apparently long marriage. Yet, it appears that Sakowicz only placed his complaint of “adultery” (and public sex, etc.) against Booras after his wife found out about their decade-long complicit affair and filed for divorce. Many of Judge Booras’ alleged actions, including calling a fellow judge a “little Mexican,” are dismaying at a minimum, and unbecoming of a public official. Yet, also dismaying seems Mr. Sakowicz’s timing, a potential usage of this situation for his own personal reasons, which could perhaps be seen as an exacerbation or exploitation of the #MeToo movement. — Karey Christ-Janer; Berthoud, Colorado”
Apparently popping in and out of the closet on a will-call basis, Sakowicz, when he first arrived in Mendocino County, claimed he was gay in a suit he filed against the County of Mendocino. He said he had been subjected to homophobic insults at work as a correctional officer at the Mendocino County Jail. Although the records are sealed, we know that Sako won a small judgement and moved on to a term as a member of the County Grand Jury, and has served as a trustee on the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District. A skilled interviewer, the versatile Sakowicz has hosted a radio show at both KZYX and KMEC featuring nationally known political intellectuals. He also served a stormy tenure as the sole dissident on the lock-step board of directors for Mendocino County Public Radio. The ubiquitous Sako presently serves on Mendocino County’s Retirement board and recently announced he will be a candidate for Supervisor.
Sakowicz, a graduate of John’s Hopkins University, is a large, imposing, articulate man who has previously and variously claimed 30 years as a Wall Street high flyer and “gay activist and poet living in Colorado Springs” who “had been awarded a grant from Pen Foundation International for writers with HIV or AIDS.”
Sakowicz seems to have reverted to hetero mode in the mountain air of Colorado, going so far as to claim a woman who’d demanded sex from him has ruined his marriage to a Mendocino County woman. And it was not just any woman who had sexually harassed poor Sako, his harasser is a Colorado appellate judge called Laurie Booras. Her honor has now been suspended, with pay, while the Colorado Supreme Court considers Sako’s charges against Her Honor, claims that Sako backs up with embarrassingly salacious e-mails from the judge to him. Ordinarily, charges of judicial impropriety would be a confidential matter, but Sako, never publicity averse, sent his lover’s incriminating e-mails to the Denver Post.
Sako says not only has Booras sexually harassed him, she committed a second sin when she referred to a fellow magistrate as “a little Mexican.”
“Given the national awareness of sexual harassment, as demonstrated by the #MeToo movement, I am enclosing a few examples of unsolicited emails of a sexual nature from Judge Booras,” Sako wrote in the letter to the Denver Post.
The wounded sexual warrior said the judge was “stalking his family,” and had sent steamy e-mails between her and Sako to Sako’s unsuspecting wife after Sako had broken off the ten-year affair with the judge. “This email exchange with my wife hurt her deeply and resulted in my wife filing for divorce last month,” Sakowicz wrote. “For years, Booras threatened me with such exposure of our affair to my wife if I did not leave my wife. Booras’ behavior could be interpreted as coercive and extortionary.”
Implying that Judge Booras was in full Fatal Attraction mode, Sako claims the lovelorn officer of the court had mailed Sako a drawing of Sakowicz’s family, including him, his wife, his two sons and three dogs, which he says she’d mailed to his home.
“Booras was obsessed with me after a failed relationship. She was angry and abusive that I would not have sex with her, nor meet with her. She made the drawing to embarrass me. She made the drawing to intimidate me. …”
Sako, who otherwise seems fearless, said he was afraid of the judge, although they were seemingly co-equal catnip when, Sako says, he and Booras twice had sex in the back seat of her car. “For Booras to deny any such lewd and lascivious behavior under oath in an investigation by the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline would be perjury,” his complaint reads.
Clearly intending to destroy Judge Booras, Sakowicz says the judge gave him private financial information about court clerks and had failed to recuse herself in an oil-and-gas case although her son is a financial analyst in the fracking industry.
We received an e-mail from the beset resident of Ten Thousand Buddhas at Talmage just last week. Sako was writing from Italy, he said, and maybe he was.
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JOHN SAKOWICZ RESPONDS:
Only Two Things Matter: The Facts And The Law
As with any matter before any court, the investigation and evaluation of disgraced judge, Laurie Booras, of the Colorado Court of Appeals, by the Colorado Supreme Court, two things, and only two things, matter: the facts and the law.
If it is determined as a factual matter that Booras called her colleague, Appellate Court Judge Terry Fox, “the little Mexican”, then this is racist speech, and the Commission on Judicial Discipline should recommend that Booras be immediately removed from the bench, per Article VI, Section 23(3)(d). The Commission is authorized to recommend to the Colorado Supreme Court that Booras be removed for any of the following: willful misconduct, willful or persistent failure to perform duties, intemperance, and violations of the ethics principles in the Canons of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct
If it is determined as a factual matter that Booras did not recuse herself in a recent fracking case due to a conflict of interest — her son worked in the fracking industry — the Commission should recommend to the Colorado Supreme Court that Booras be immediately removed from the bench, again for the reasons cited above. It is an aggravating factor that Booras recently wrote a dissenting opinion in support of the fracking industry.
If it is determined as a factual matter that Booras harassed, stalked, threatened, intimidated, and/or menaced the complainant, then Booras should be removed for the reasons cited above. This behavior is criminal, if it rises to causing “emotional distress”.
Having sex in public with the complainant — lewd and lascivious behavior — is also a criminal act.
The facts and the law are all that ever matter in court — not personalities.
Finally, I have questions of my own: What else is alleged and substantiated in the complaint that the Post did not report? Will Booras be deposed under oath during the Commission’s investigation? What happens if, during the Commission’s investigation, Booras refuses to answer because answering would incriminate her? And why are the deliberations of the Commission secret? Isn’t the public interest served by an investigation and deliberations that are open and transparent?
The big, big question is: Why was Booras appointed as an appellate court judge in the first place? Booras never served as a district judge. Never. Not one day. Booras never served as a county judge. Never. Not one day. Booras never so much as heard a case involving a traffic ticket or a barking dog before she was appointed to the second-highest court in Colorado.
Why? Why was Booras appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals without any judicial experience?
As a footnote, and apart from purely legal considerations, the Court’s integrity is everything in a democracy. A judge must act in accordance with the ethics principles in the Canons of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct.
Specifically, see: https://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Code_of_Judicial_Conduct.pdf