August 28, 2014

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The Tenth Circuit on Monday issued five published opinions and five unpublished opinions.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