December 21, 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