December 11, 2017

Archives for July 1, 2014

Colorado Supreme Court: Fee and Cost Award Mandated by Statute when District Court Orders Inspection of Public Records

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Benefield v. Colorado Republican Party on Monday, June 30, 2014.

CRS § 24-72-204(5)—Records—Costs and Fees.

Benefield and other current or former members of the Colorado House of Representatives sought review of the court of appeals’ judgment in Colorado Republican Party v. Benefield (Colo.App. No. 10CA2327, Nov. 10, 2011), which reversed the district court’s order denying costs and attorney fees for the Colorado Republican Party. After assessing the extent to which the Party prevailed overall in its action for inspection of public records, the district court determined that it was not a “prevailing applicant” within the meaning of CRS § 24-72-204(5). The court of appeals reversed, reasoning that a prevailing applicant was “any party who brings a section 24-72-204(5) action against a public records custodian and obtains any improperly withheld public record as a result of such action.”

The Supreme Court affirmed. CRS § 24-72-204(5), when properly construed, mandates an award of costs and reasonable attorney fees in favor of any person who applies for and receives an order from the district court requiring a custodian to permit inspection of a public record, as provided for by the statute.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Miranda Advisement Sufficient to Alert Defendant that Court would Appoint Attorney if He Could Not Afford One

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Sanchez v. People on Monday, June 30, 2014.

Criminal Law—Miranda Warnings.

Defendant petitioned for review of the court of appeals’ judgment in People v. Sanchez (Colo.App. No. 08CA630, Feb. 10, 2011) (not published pursuant to CAR 35(f)), which affirmed his conviction of first-degree murder. Among other things, defendant assigned error to the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress, as a violation of his Miranda rights, statements he made to the New Mexico police shortly after his arrest. In particular, he objected that he was not advised and did not understand that he would not ultimately be obligated to pay for an appointed attorney. The court of appeals rejected defendant’s assignment of error, concluding that the advisement he received concerning his right to appointed counsel was sufficient to convey to him that if he could not afford one, an attorney would be provided free of charge.

The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals. Miranda v. Arizona does not require that a suspect be advised of or understand that he or she will not ultimately bear any liability for the cost of an attorney appointed to assist him or her during custodial interrogation. Here, defendant was adequately advised and understood that if he requested the assistance of an attorney to consult with him and be present during custodial interrogation, but could not afford one, one would be appointed for that purpose.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Exclusionary Rule Does Not Apply in Drivers License Revocation Proceedings

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Hanson v. Department of Revenue on Monday, June 30, 2014.

CRS § 42-2-126—Driver’s License Revocation—Probable Cause—Exclusionary Rule.

The Division of Motor Vehicles revoked a driver’s license, following a hearing officer’s determination that the driver had improperly refused a blood alcohol test. The district court and the court of appeals both affirmed the revocation.

The Supreme Court held that under CRS § 42-2-126, as it was in effect at the time of the hearing in this case, “probable cause” in the context of the driver’s license revocation statute refers to the quantum and quality of evidence necessary for a law enforcement officer to issue a notice of driver’s license revocation, not whether the officer’s initial contact with the driver was lawful. The Supreme Court further held that the exclusionary rule does not apply in driver’s license revocation proceedings. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: “Probable Cause” for Drivers License Revocation Refers to Evidence Necessary for Officer to Issue Notice of Revocation

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Francen v. Department of Revenue on Monday, June 30, 2014.

CRS § 42-2-126—Driver’s License Revocation—Probable Cause—Exclusionary Rule.

The Department of Revenue, through the Division of Motor Vehicles, revoked a driver’s license, following a hearing officer’s determination that the driver had driven a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of the statutory maximum. The district court reversed, holding that the initial stop of the driver’s vehicle was not supported by reasonable suspicion. The court of appeals reversed the district court and held that the legality of the initial contact between the police and the driver was not relevant in the civil administrative proceeding to revoke the driver’s license. The court also held that the exclusionary rule did not apply to suppress evidence of the driver’s BAC.

The Supreme Court held that, under CRS § 42-2-126, “probable cause” in the context of the driver’s license revocation statute, as it existed at the time of the hearing in this case, refers to the quantum and quality of evidence necessary for a law enforcement officer to issue a notice of driver’s license revocation, not whether the officer’s initial contact with the driver was lawful. The Supreme Court further held that the exclusionary rule did not apply to suppress evidence of the driver’s BAC in the driver’s license revocation proceeding. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals.

Summary and full case available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 6/30/2014

On Monday, June 30, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and four unpublished opinions.

Rodriguez-Reyes v. Holder

Yeaman v. Hillerich & Bradsby Co.

United States v. Eatman

United States v. Bias

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.