December 22, 2014

Colorado Office of Dispute Resolution Revises Indigent Services Allocation Policy

Beginning July 1, the Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) will fund mediation and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services for Colorado’s indigent population based on a proportionate allocation formula, State Judicial announced today.

Low- and no-cost mediation services will be granted to each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts in proportion to each district’s percentage of residents meeting the federal poverty threshold. According to a press release issued today by State Judicial, recent Census data revealed that more than a half-million Coloradans live at the federal poverty level. The federal poverty level for one person in 2010 is $10,830 per year, or $902.50 per month.

Deputy State Court Administrator Carol Haller said of the change:

We want to provide access to services across the state in an equitable manner. Because our indigent funds are limited, tying each judicial district’s ODR allocation to its indigent population is the most sensible approach to take.

ODR also offers mediation and other ADR services at affordable rates (but not state funded) to Colorado residents who are not in financial need.

(image source: State Judicial)

Bankruptcy Noticing Center Changes Rule for Delivering Notices to Invalid Addresses

As of July 12, the Bankruptcy Noticing Center (BNC) will no longer mail notices to invalid addresses for a debtor’s creditors.

Unless a creditor itself has advised the court of an alternate address at which it receives correspondence, bankruptcy courts typically use creditor addresses that a debtor has provided in his or her bankruptcy filing. If a creditor moves or is no longer at the address known by the bankruptcy court, the United States Postal Service returns as “undeliverable” mail to the court, which often results in wasted time and postage.

All that will change on July 12, when a new BNC policy goes in force. The BNC will no longer attempt to mail “undeliverable” correspondence to a debtor’s creditor and will, instead, bypass the creditor and mail notices directly to the debtor’s attorney. The debtor or the debtor’s attorney are then instructed to forward the notice to the creditor.

The BNC will continue to mail notices to undeliverable addresses under the following conditions: (1) the address is for a debtor; or (2) the address is for a creditor who, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 342(f), has filed a preferred address with the BNC for all cases or who, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 342(e), has filed a preferred address with the court for a particular case. The BNC will attempt to contact the preferred address recipient regarding the need for address correction.

8th Judicial District Rolls Out Special DUI Court

Colorado’s Eight Judicial District Court on Friday will introduce a new “problem-solving” tribunal specific to DUI cases in Larimer County. The Larimer County DUI Court will be the eighth jurisdiction in Colorado since 2007 to create a specialized DUI court that focuses on rehabilitation, rather than incarceration, as a way to defeat recidivism in repeat DUI offenders.

Larimer County Magistrate Matthew Zehe will hear the first case this Friday morning, July 2. Of the new court, he remarked:

It is an honor and privilege to be a part of this new, specialized court. DUI and its tragic consequences present challenges for communities throughout Colorado and the nation, but it is my steadfast belief that this court will bring solutions to those challenges.

The way the Larimer County DUI Court hopes to bring about those solutions is based on “The Guiding Principles of DWI Courts” (pdf), a rehab-based primer on alternative prosecution for intoxicated drivers that was developed by the National Center for DWI Courts. Once repeat offenders are evaluated and cleared for participation in the DUI Court, they are subject to a specialized treatment plan that marries:

  • The psychological, through assessment and treatment of addiction and mental health issues;
  • The judicial, through compassionate judges who have a significant “buy-in” into the program and who perform community outreach with various stakeholders and agencies;
  • The correctional, through supervision, monitoring, and testing; and
  • The practical, through addressing an offender’s transportation and other related problems.

Offenders chosen to participate in DUI Court undergo assessment and treatment, regular drug testing for compliance, and frequent face-to-face meetings with the court. The rehabilitative program uses a carrot/stick approach to compliance, with incentives to reward positive behaviors and jail time as a disincentive to noncompliance. “The main goal of this court is to enhance our community and ensure safety for our citizens by helping repeat DUI offenders integrate back into the community in a safe, sober and productive way,” remarked Magistrate Zehe.

(image source: State Judicial)

New Colorado State Court Filing Fees Going Into Effect July 1

The schedule of filing fees, costs, and surcharges in Colorado state courts has been issued by State Judicial, with an effective date of July 1, 2010.

The schedule shows fees for the following Colorado courts:

  • County court (civil, criminal, and small claims);
  • District court (civil, criminal, domestic relations, juvenile, and probate);
  • Water court;
  • Colorado Court of Appeals; and
  • Colorado Supreme Court.

The schedule also details proceedings in which no fees are assessed, such as mental health proceedings; workers’ compensation filings; and proceedings regarding a dependent or neglected child or a child’s relinquishment or delinquency; among others.

Surcharges for miscellaneous county and district court services, such as photocopying, faxing, and transcription duplication, have also been revised.

As we previously reported, county clerk and recorder fees also increase tomorrow.

July 7 Program: Electronic Privacy in 2010: Impact of City of Ontario v. Quon Decision

Recent major decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and the New Jersey Supreme Court address highly contentious and unsettled issues of electronic privacy and electronic monitoring in and related to the workplace. Employees are increasingly moving off the corporate e-mail server. They are conducting business and engaging in non-work-related activities, sometimes using employer-supplied equipment, through text messaging, personal e-mail accounts, personal smartphones, and “friends only” Facebook pages. In short, today’s tech-savvy workforce is using technology in ways that raise new privacy issues and that have rendered most electronic resources policies obsolete.

How should employers respond to these new challenges in the workplace? Find out on Wednesday, July 7, during a lunchtime presentation featuring employment lawyers Philip L. Gordon, of the Denver office of Littler Mendelson, P.C., and Barry D. Roseman, partner at McNamara, Roseman, Martínez & Kazmierski LLP. This presentation will provide the following insights and practical take-aways:

  • The impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in City of Ontario v. Quon (pdf);
  • The impact of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent decision in Stengart v. Loving Care;
  • Employees’ reasonable expectations of privacy;
  • Reasonable and lawful searches of employees’ electronic communications;
  • Recommended policy language to address new technologies in the workplace;
  • Recommended strategies for lawful searches of communications off the corporate e-mail server; and
  • How plaintiffs’ counsel can protect their clients’ privacy.

Register today for this timely and important program. The presentation will also be available as a live webcast, an mp3 download, and video on demand for those unable to attend in person, and has been submitted for one general CLE credit.

Click here for our past coverage of the Quon decision.

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

State Courts Closed Monday for Independence Day Observance

Courts in Colorado will observe Sunday’s Independence Day holiday on Monday, July 5.

Business as usual will resume on Tuesday, July 6. Of particular note will be the Tuesday opening of the Second Judicial District’s new Lindsey-Finegan Courthouse in downtown Denver.

By the way, Colorado Bar Association CLE, Colorado Bar Association and Denver Bar Association will also be closed on Monday. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Tenth Circuit: Opinions, 6/29/10

The Tenth Circuit on Tuesday issued two published opinions and seven unpublished opinions.

Published

In United States v. McGinty, the Court reversed and remanded the district court’s order of forfeiture imposed at sentencing. The district court ordered the forfeiture be reduced by the amount that Respondent had already paid back to the bank. However, the Tenth Circuit agreed with the government that it was entitled to a money judgment representing the full amount of Respondent’s unlawful proceeds acquired through misapplication of bank funds.

In In re: Weinman v. Graves, the Court affirmed with modification the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel determination concerning turnover. The Court concluded that a debtor’s interest in a 2006 tax refund, irrevocably applied pre-petition to 2007 taxes, may be subject to turnover; turnover only applies to that “part of the refund that (1) is attributable to pre-petition earnings and (2) reverted to debtors after application of the refund to their ultimate (2007) tax liability.”

Unpublished

United States v. Rabieh

United States v. McGinnis

Farhat v. Bruner

Goodloe v. Smelser

United States v.McIntyre

Daniell v. Astrue

United States v. Phung

Tenth Circuit: Opinions, 6/28/10

The Tenth Circuit on Monday issued five published opinions and five unpublished opinions.

Published

In Glover v. Mabrey, the Court vacated the previous order and judgment and substituted a new order and judgment in its place. Petitioner’s claim of retaliation was affirmed by the Court, which rejected Respondents’ claims of qualified immunity. However, Petitioner’s claims under the First and Fourteenth Amendments were rejected.

In Cahill v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., the Court affirmed the district court’s decision that Petitioner’s claims against his insurer were time barred. All but one of Petitioner’s claims were inadequately preserved or presented; the remaining claim addressed equitable tolling. However, the Court found that the statute of limitations period need not have been tolled until insurer informed Petitioner that it had not paid benefits required by law.

In United States v. Simpson, the Court affirmed the district court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence of narcotics found in Petitioner’s vehicle. The Court determined that the continued detention beyond the scope of the initial traffic stop was reasonable under the circumstances; Petitioner’s “prior criminal conviction for drug trafficking, his extreme nervousness, and the fact that he provided inconsistent and evasive answers to queries about his travel plans together provided reasonable suspicion to justify extending a legitimate traffic stop to allow further questioning and a canine sniff of his automobile.”

In United States v. Martinez, the Court affirmed the district court’s conviction of Petitioner for conspiring to defraud the State of New Mexico, mail fraud in furtherance of that scheme, and the imposed restitution amount. Petitioner’s claim that his sentence is unreasonable was rejected by the Court; any disparities between Petitioner’s sentence and the sentences of his co-conspirators are explained by the differing plea agreements. Additionally, the amount of restitution owed need not be offset by the value of Petitioner’s property subject to criminal forfeiture or by the amount of federal and state income taxes paid on his share of fraudulent proceeds.

In United States v. Quaintance, the Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Petitioners’ motion to dismiss, upholding their conviction for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Petitioners did not deny their involvement with the drug, “but countered that they are the founding members of the Church of Cognizance, which teaches that marijuana is a deity and sacrament;” any prosecution of Petitioners would therefore be precluded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The RFRA prevents the government from substantially burdening sincere religious exercises absent countervailing compelling government interest. However, the evidence and totality of the circumstances overwhelmingly suggested that no sincere religious belief existed and served only as a front to Petitioners’ commercial, secular drug business.

Unpublished

Parker v. Sirmons

United States v. Mendez

United States v. Rodriguez-Castenera

United States v. Akers

Russell v. Chase Investment Services Corp.

10th Circuit BAP Local Rules of Practice Undergo Amendment

The Local Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Tenth Circuit (BAP) were recently updated by the Panel’s Local Rules of Practice Committee.

The 8000 series of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure have also been incorporated into the amended Local Rules. The full Rules are available here.

Click here to view a quick guide to the Rules changes.

The changes went into effect May 1, 2010.

Crim.P. 43, Regarding Presence of Defendant by Interactive AV Device, Updated by Colorado Supreme Court

The Colorado Supreme Court this month approved an addition to Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure (Crim.P.) 43, “Presence of the Defendant,” effective immediately.

Rule Change 2010(12) details the amendment to Crim.P. 43, which now includes a new subsection (e) that specifies the requirements and types of hearings at which defendants may appear via two-way audiovisual (AV) transmission.

Crim.P. 43(e) was approved, en banc, by the Colorado Supreme Court on June 17 and became effective immediately.

Douglas County Judge Michele Marker Announces Retirement Plans

The recent announcement of Douglas County Judge Michele A. Marker’s plan not to seek retention is the latest in a flurry of Colorado judicial retirements announced this summer, according to a press release (pdf) issued by State Judicial.

The Eighteenth District Judicial Nominating Committee will convene at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 12, to review applications and recommend nominees to fill the vacancy. The meeting will be held at the Douglas County Courthouse, 4000 Justice Way, in Castle Rock. Following the interviews, the Commission will recommend finalists for Gov. Bill Ritter to consider for appointment, and the governor will announce his appointee within 15 days.

County court judges receive a provisional, two-year appointment by the governor, after which they are retained by voter approval every four years. The annual salary is $123,067. Judge Marker’s successor will begin his or her term on January 1, 2011.

All attorneys licensed to practice in Colorado and who are registered electors in Douglas County are eligible to apply for the judgeship. Detailed information about the Eighteenth Judicial District and the application are available online. Application packages (consisting of one original application plus seven copies) must be received by the office of Commission ex officio chair, Justice Alex J. Martinez, 101 W. Colfax Ave., Eighth Floor, no later than Wednesday, July 28 at 5:00 p.m.

Other Colorado judges announcing their retirement in recent weeks include Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey, Fifth Judicial District Judge Terry Ruckriegle, Nineteenth Judicial District Judge Gilbert Gutierrez, Denver District Court Judge Stephen Phillips, and Jefferson County Judge Charles Hoppin.

Jeffco County Judge Charles Hoppin Retiring; Applicants Sought for Vacancy

State Judicial announced this morning the January 2011 retirement of Jefferson County Court Judge Charles T. Hoppin and a request for applications for individuals interested in succeeding him on the bench.

The First District Judicial Nominating Committee will convene on Monday, August 16, to review applications and recommend nominees to fill the vacancy. The meeting will be held in the training room of the Jefferson County Courthouse, 100 Jefferson County Parkway, in Golden. Following the interviews, the Commission will recommend finalists for Gov. Bill Ritter to consider for appointment, and the governor will announce his appointee within 15 days.

Judges in the Jefferson County Court preside over traffic, misdemeanor, and civil cases, as well as process felonies through preliminary hearing proceedings. County court judges receive a provisional, two-year appointment by the governor, after which they are retained by voter approval every four years. The annual salary is $123,067. Judge Hoppin’s successor will begin his or her term in January 2011.

All attorneys licensed to practice in Colorado and who are registered electors in Jefferson County are eligible to apply for the judgeship. Detailed information about the Jefferson County Court and the application are available online. Application packages (consisting of one original application plus seven copies) must be received by the office of Commission ex officio chair, Justice Nathan B. Coats, 101 W. Colfax Ave., Eighth Floor, no later than Wednesday, August 4 at 3:00 p.m.

Judge Hoppin has served as Jefferson County Court judge since May 1996. From 1972 to 1996, he was in private practice, specializing in domestic relations and criminal defense cases. He was a Deputy District Attorney from 1969 to 1972.

(image source: State Judicial)