March 18, 2018

Archives for March 27, 2012

Finalists Selected to Fill Judgeship on Eighteenth Judicial District Court

The Eighteenth Judicial District Nominating Commission has nominated three candidates for a district court judgeship created by the retirement of the Honorable Robert H. Russell, II, effective May 31, 2012.

The nominees for the bench are Michelle Amico of Littleton, Gary Fleming of Centennial, and Theresa Slade of Elizabeth. All finalists were selected by the commission on March 26.

Under the Colorado Constitution, Governor Hickenlooper has until April 11 to appoint one of the nominees as District Court Judge for the Eighteenth Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln counties).

Comments regarding any of the nominees can be emailed to the Governor’s Office.

Colorado Supreme Court: Permitting Narcotics Dogs to Sniff Around Vehicle Did Not Infringe Any Reasonable Privacy Interest

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Esparza on March 26, 2012.

Search and Seizure—Dog Sniffs—Colo. Const., Art. II, § 7.

The People brought an interlocutory appeal assigning error to the district court’s suppression of contraband seized from defendant’s vehicle on two occasions. In each case, after defendant was arrested for driving under suspension, a police narcotics detection canine was brought to the scene and led around defendant’s truck, which had been parked and left at the location of her arrest. Also in each case, after the dog alerted to the presence of narcotics, a search of the truck’s cab revealed drug paraphernalia and suspected methamphetamine. The district court found that under these circumstances, the state constitution barred the police from bringing a trained narcotics detection dog within detection range of defendant’s vehicle without first having reasonable suspicion to believe it contained contraband, which the court found to be lacking in both cases.

The Supreme Court held that an interest in possessing contraband cannot be deemed legitimate under the state constitution any more than under the federal constitution, and that official conduct failing to compromise any legitimate interest in privacy cannot be deemed a search under the state constitution any more than under the federal constitution. Because narcotics dogs could not communicate anything more than reason to believe defendant’s truck either contained or did not contain contraband, permitting narcotics dogs to sniff around the vehicle did not infringe on any reasonable privacy interest. The Court reversed the district court’s order and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Proposed Expert Testimony of a Learning Disability Admissible with Notice and Court-Ordered Mental Examination; Not Required to Plead Insanity to Challenge whether Possessed Mens Rea for the Offense

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In Re People v. Wilburn on March 26, 2012.

Expert Testimony on Defendant’s Mental Condition—Learning Disability—Mistake of Fact Defense on “Knowingly” Element—Court-Ordered Mental Examination.

In this original proceeding, the Supreme Court held that CRS § 16-8-107(3)(b) allows a defendant to introduce expert testimony concerning a mental condition in the absence of an insanity plea, providing that the defendant gives adequate notice and agrees to undergo a court-ordered mental health examination pursuant to CRS § 16-8-106. Here, defendant Tyler Wilburn announced his intent to introduce expert testimony of a learning disability to challenge whether he “knowingly” violated his bail bond condition, a mistake-of-fact defense under CRS § 18-1-504(1)(a). Wilburn missed his court date after he allegedly wrote down the wrong date. The prosecution maintained that, to introduce expert testimony of his mental condition, Wilburn must plead not guilty by reason of insanity, a plea that requires a “commitment” to a state mental health facility. The trial court agreed and ordered Wilburn committed to a state facility for forty-five days to undergo a court-ordered mental examination. The Court issued a rule to show cause.

The Court reversed the trial court’s judgment and made the rule absolute. The Court held that Wilburn’s proposed expert testimony of a learning disability is admissible under the procedures of CRS § 16-8-107(3)(b), which requires notice and a court-ordered mental examination. Wilburn is not required to plead insanity to challenge whether he possessed the mens rea for the offense with expert testimony concerning his learning disability. Under CRS § 16-8-106, the trial court has discretion to consider the circumstances and the nature of Wilburn’s defense to set a reasonable time, place, and length for a court-ordered mental health examination.

Summary and full case available here.

e-Legislative Report: Week Eleven, March 26, 2012

In this week’s Legislative Video Update, Michael discusses discusses how the Colorado Bar Association’s Legislative Policy Committee played King Solomon with the juvenile direct file bill, improvements to the Secretary of State’s business filing system, and the state’s projected increased revenues for its budget.

From the CBA Legislative Policy Committee

After a well deserved break from the action on March 16, the Legislative Policy Committee met on Friday, March 23 and took up two bills:

HB 12-1271 – the Juvenile Direct File bill
The LPC played King Solomon and developed a measured position for the Bar Association on HB 1271 – the Juvenile Direct File bill. (See full description of the bill here.) The LPC voted to authorize the Juvenile Law Section to support the bill in the name of the Juvenile Law Section only. This is permitted within the guidelines for the Legislative Policy Committee. This position was developed to respect the natural divide within the Criminal Law section where prosecutors and defense attorneys are divided on the bill. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Judiciary Committee on Monday at 1:30 p.m. in the big committee room at the Capitol – the Old Supreme Court Chamber.

SB 12-123 – Enhance Secretary of State On-Line Filing System
The LPC also voted to support SB 123 – Enhance Secretary of State On-Line Filing System. The bill contemplates improvements to the Business Filing System including enhancements to user accounts, registered agents, record management, certifications, and better search functionality. The Business Law Section sought the approval for support. The bill is caught up in the Appropriations Committee as the Joint Budget Committee moves closer to introducing a balanced budget.

Click here to read the full e-Legislative Report.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 3/26/12

On Monday, March 26, 2012, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and two unpublished opinions.


BP Pipelines (North America) Inc. v. C.D. Brown Construction, Inc.

Guy v. Wilson

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