September 2, 2014

Governor Hickenlooper Appoints Judge to Pueblo County Court Bench

On Wednesday, June 29, 2011, Governor John Hickenlooper announced his appointment of Valerie V. Haynes to serve as the County Court Judge in the Tenth Judicial District, which serves Pueblo County. Haynes will begin her tenure on the bench July 1.

Haynes is currently the Assistant County Attorney for Pueblo County, where she has served since 2004. As Assistant County Attorney, Haynes focused on representing governmental entities in the areas of statutory and regulatory compliance. Previously, she was a Deputy District Attorney for the Thirteenth Judicial District, the Fourth Judicial District, and the Tenth Judicial District. She also worked in private practice.

Haynes received her B.A. from the University of Northern Colorado in 1985, and her law degree from the University of Denver in 1995.

Governor Hickenlooper Announces Appointments to Colorado Health Benefits Exchange Board

On Wednesday, June 29, 2011, Governor John Hickenlooper announced his appointments to the first Colorado Health Benefits Exchange Board, which was created by SB 11-200, Health Benefit Exchange, sponsored by Senate President Pro-tem Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, and House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument.

The Colorado Health Exchange will be an independent public entity not affiliated with any existing state agency or department and initially funded by gifts, grants,and donations. The exchange will be governed by nine board members, the majority of whom will be individuals and business representatives who are not directly affiliated with the insurance industry. The board will hire the exchange’s executive director.

The members appointed by the Governor and the Senate and House Majority and Minority leadership are:

  • Richard T. Betts, of Telluride; term to expire 2013. Betts is the owner of ASAP Accounting & Payroll, Inc.
  • Eric Grossman, of Englewood; term to expire 2013. Grossman is a vice president of TriZetto.
  • Robert S. Ruiz-Moss, of Lone Tree; term to expire 2013. Ruiz-Moss is the chief executive officer of Anthem Blue Cross.
  • Elizabeth Soberg, of Centennial; term to expire 2013. Soberg is the chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare of Colorado.
  • Gretchen Hammer, of Denver; term to expire 2015. Hammer is the executive director for the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved.
  • Stephen ErkenBrack, of Grand Junction; term to expire 2015. ErkenBrack is the president of Rocky Mountain Health Plan.
  • Arnold Salazar, of Alamosa; term to expire 2015. Salazar is the executive director of Colorado Health Partnerships, LLC.
  • Nathan Wilkes, of Arapahoe; term to expire 2015. Wilkes is the founder and principal consultant, Headstorms, Inc.
  • Dr. Michael Fallon, of Denver; term to expire 2015. Fallon is an emergency room physician.

The full press release from the Governor’s Office concerning these board appointments can be found here.

Governor Hickenlooper Announces Appointments to State Board of Parole

On Wednesday, June 29, 2011, Governor John Hickenlooper announced his appointments to the State Board of Parole.

The State Board of Parole holds hearings and considers applications for parole, and conducts all proceedings involving revocation of parole. These appointments are dependent upon Senate confirmation. The members appointed are:

  • Dr. Anthony Young, of Colorado Springs, to serve as a citizen representative; term to expire July 1, 2014. To also serve as Chairperson effective July 1, 2011, for a term expiring at the pleasure of the governor.
  • Patricia Ann Waak, of Erie, to serve as a citizen representative; term to expire July 1, 2013. To also serve as Vice Chairperson effective July 1, 2011, for a term expiring at the pleasure of the governor.
  • Edward P. Thomas, of Denver, to serve as a citizen representative; term to expire July 1, 2014.
  • Denise K. Balazic, of Aurora, to serve as a parole or probation representative; term to expire July 1, 2014.

The full press release from the Governor’s office concerning these board appointments can be found here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Week of June 26, 2011 (No Published Opinions)

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and forty-two unpublished opinions for the week of June 26, 2011.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. Case announcements are available here.

Bankruptcy Court: Plaintiffs Justifiably Relied upon False Statements of Defendants when Entering into Stipulation

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado issued its opinion in In re Reeves (Rayner v. Reeves) on Tuesday, June 21, 2011.

11 U.S.C. Section 523(a)(2)(A).

Plaintiffs settled a lawsuit in state court which, as part of the settlement, the Defendant assured the Plaintiff that: (a) he did not have total assets whose value exceeded the exemption statutes allowance; (b) he did not transfer assets outside the ordinary course of business; and (c) he did not transfer real estate to family. As part of the settlement, the Defendant agreed that if he was not telling the truth about these assertions and representations a judgment would enter against him for $100,000. After the Defendant failed to pay on the settlement, the state court concluded, after a trial on the merits, that Defendant was not telling the truth in entering into the stipulation and entered a judgment against him in the amount of $100,000.

The Plaintiffs sought summary judgment in this dischargeability action seeking a determination that the state court’s ruling granting a judgment based on the stipulation in the amount of $100,000 should be granted issue preclusive effect. Defendant argued that because his statements were so obviously false there could have never been justifiable reliance.

The Bankruptcy Court concluded that the stipulation was entered into only after careful requests for assurance that Defendant was telling the truth about his situation. The stipulation was crafted after deliberation and negotiation. The stipulation was crafted with provisions—or sanctions—in the event the Defendant was lying. Because of these safeguards, the Court concluded that the Plaintiffs did, indeed, justifiably rely on the false statements of the Defendant.

Other published Bankruptcy Court opinions can be found here. Unpublished opinions can be found here.

Uniform Local Rules for All State Water Court Divisions Amended by the Colorado Supreme Court

The Colorado Supreme Court has adopted amendments to the Uniform Local Rules for All State Water Court Divisions. Rule 11, Pre-Trial Procedure, Case Management, Disclosure, and Simplification of Issues, has been changed to make the notes taken by experts during their meetings not discoverable, and none of the content of the meetings or the written statement prepared will be admissible at trial. Additionally, a Committee Comment was added to outline how such meetings should be conducted and how to prepare the written statement.

Uniform Local Rules for All State Water Court Divisions Rule 11(b)(5)(D)(III) was amended to read as follows:

The content of the meetings of the experts and the written statement prepared pursuant to Water Court Rule 11(b)(5)(D)(II) shall be considered as conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations within the ambit of CRE 408. For this reason, notes taken by the experts or other records of the discussion during these meetings shall not be discoverable, and none of the content of the meetings of the experts or the written statement prepared shall be admissible at trial. The meetings of the experts shall not include the attorneys for the parties or the parties themselves, unless they are the designated expert(s).

The new Committee Comment begins:

Effective July 1, 2011, Rule 11 is further amended in subsection (b)(5)(D)(III) to make explicit the non-discoverability and non-admissibility of the notes, records, content of discussions, and written statement prepared by the experts in accordance with the rule, and, further, to clarify that the meetings of the experts exclude attorneys for the parties or the parties themselves unless they are designated experts. These clarifying changes apply nunc pro tunc on and after July 1, 2009.

In addition, the following Suggested Guide is included in this Comment by way of example for conduct of the meetings of the experts and preparation of the joint written statement of the experts.

Then follows the “Suggested Guide for Conducting Meetings of the Experts in Water Court Proceedings and Preparing Written Statement.”

Click here to read the red line edits, the full Committee Comment and Suggested Guide, and the full release from State Judicial concerning these rules changes.

Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure and Form Amended by the Colorado Supreme Court

The Colorado Supreme Court has approved four new amendments to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. The rules changes can be found in the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, the Rules of Procedure for Small Claims Courts, and the Colorado Rules for Traffic Infractions. Additionally, a form was revised within the Appendix to Chapters 1 to 17A Forms of the CRCP.

CRCP 122(c)(3), Case Specific Appointment of Appointed Judges Pursuant to C.R.S. § 13-3-111, was amended to read as follows:

The Appointed Judge’s agreement to be bound by Section II of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct, Applicability of Code to Senior and Retired Judges, and the Appointed Judge’s agreement that the Chief Justice may ask the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline for any record of his or her imposed discipline, or pending disciplinary proceeding, if any;

The Rules of Procedure for Small Claims Courts Rule 516, Costs, was amended to read as follows:

The prevailing party in the action in a small claims court shall have judgment to recover costs of the action and also the costs to enforce the judgment as provided by law.

The Colorado Rules for Traffic Infractions Rule 6(a), Payment Before Appearance, was amended to read as follows:

The clerk of court shall accept payment of a penalty assessment notice by a defendant without an appearance before the referee, if payment is made before the time scheduled for the first appearance.

Lastly, Form 29 – Writ of Garnishment With Notice of Exemption and Pending Levy – has been amended within the Appendix to Chapters 1 to 17A Forms of the CRCP.

Click here to read the red line edits and the full release from State Judicial concerning these rules changes.

Colorado Supreme Court Proposes Changes to CRCP and Uniform Local Rules for All State Water Court Divisions

The Colorado Supreme Court has issued a notice of proposed rule changes and requests for public comment.  The Court proposes amendments to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 121, Section 1-1 and Chapter 36 of the Uniform Local Rules for All State Water Court Divisions.

The changes to CRCP 121, Section 1-1 involve the addition of a new paragraph 5 to read as follows:

In accordance with CRCP 11(b), an attorney may undertake to provide limited representation to a pro se party involved in a court proceeding. Upon the request of and with the consent of a pro se party, an attorney may make a limited appearance for the pro se party in one or more specified proceedings, if the attorney files and serves with the court and the other parties and attorneys (if any) a notice of the limited appearance prior to or simultaneous with the proceeding(s) for which the attorney appears. At the conclusion of such proceeding(s) the attorney’s role terminates without the necessity of leave of court, upon the attorney filing a notice of completion of limited appearance. Service on an attorney who makes a limited appearance for a party shall be valid only in connection with the specific proceeding(s) for which the attorney appears.

More information about the change to CRCP 121 and the rationale for the proposed change can be found here.

The changes to Chapter 36 of the Uniform Local Rules for All State Water Court Divisions are twofold. If the changes are adopted, the rule “would convert time periods contained in the current Water Court Rules to uniform increments of 7 in place of the various time periods currently specified in the rules. This would conform to the Civil Rules Committee’s suggestion that all Colorado court rules be converted to ‘the rule of 7′ as with Federal Rules.” Additionally, the changes would “accommodate multiple applicants in a single application for augmentation and exchange plans and non-tributary groundwater applications.”

More information about changes to the Water Rules, including line edits and the rationale for the proposed changes, can be found here.

Public comments on either change should be submitted with an original and seven copies no later than Friday, September 30, 2011, at 5:00 pm addressed to: Clerk of the Colorado Supreme Court, Christopher T. Ryan, 101 West Colfax, 8th Floor, Denver, Colorado 80202.

Tenth Circuit: Rebuttable Presumption of Reasonableness to a Below-Guideline Sentence Challenged as Unreasonably Harsh

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Balbin-Mesa on Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s sentence. Petitioner, a citizen of Colombia, appeals from the below-guideline sentence imposed upon him after pleading guilty, without a plea agreement, to a charge of reentering the United States after having been removed. Petitioner did not specify whether he intended to raise a procedural or a substantive challenge to his sentence.

The Court, after reviewing Petitioner’s briefs, determined an intent to challenge only the substantive reasonableness of his sentence. Petitioner “argues that the district court’s below-guideline, twenty-eight month sentence was unreasonable because the court made only a passing reference to a single sentencing factor, deterrence, to the exclusion of other sentencing factors listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).” However, the Court agreed with and joined “the Seventh Circuit in extending the rebuttable presumption of reasonableness to a below-guideline sentence challenged by the defendant as unreasonably harsh. [Petitioner]’s cursory review of the sentencing factors fails to rebut the presumption that his below-guideline sentence is reasonable.”

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 6/29/11

On Wednesday, June 29, 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and three unpublished opinions.

Unpublished

United States v. Morales-Ramirez

United States v. Lerma

Warren v. Milyard

No case summaries are available for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Interpreter Services to Be Free in Colorado Courts after DOJ Agreement

Today, the Justice Department announced that it has reached an agreement with Colorado State Judicial officials to ensure that limited English proficient (LEP) individuals will have free access to timely and competent language assistance when seeking services in state courts.

Last year, the Justice Department issued a letter to chief justices and state court administrators around the nation to help clarify the obligation “to provide oral interpretation, written translation and other language services to to people who are LEP.” Since then, the Department had been investigating a complaint alleging that Colorado State Judicial, which receives federal funding, was not in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the nondiscrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. These two acts prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion by recipients of federal assistance.

Today’s agreement resolves that investigation and, accordingly, Chief Justice Bender has issued a comprehensive Directive that provides for free and competent interpreter services in all criminal and civil proceedings, as well as court operations. Drafting the Directive was a collaborative effort between state court officials, judges, administrators, and community experts.

Additionally, the Colorado Judicial Department will develop state and local language access plans in conjunction with the DOJ, addressing both oral interpretation and the translation of vital written documents. The existing Court Interpreter Oversight Committee will be expanded to include a Colorado Legal Services attorney, a prosecutor, a public defender, an advocate representing the interests of the language minority populations in Colorado, and other members who have relevant experience in court language access issues. This committee will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the directive, the state and district plans, and implementation efforts.

The Chief Justice Directive implementing the changes to interpreter services can be read here. Additionally, two other CJDs were amended to account for the changes, and they can be read here and here.

Click here to read the full DOJ press release.

Mandatory Electronic Case Filing for Replevin and Nuisance Abatement in Denver County Court

Effective Tuesday, July 5, 2011, the Denver County Court Presiding Judge Order regarding the electronic filing of civil cases has been amended to require mandatory electronic case filing for Replevin and Nuisance Abatement cases, including all new case filing and pleadings.

Replevin and Nuisance Abatement will join Money Demand and FED as cases in which the Clerk of the Court will only accept pleadings when filed electronically.

Pro se parties are excluded from the requirement.

Click here to read the full Executive Order explaining the change.