August 18, 2017

Archives for January 13, 2016

Colorado Supreme Court: Defendant’s Request for Lawyer was Ambiguous so Statements Admissible

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Kutlak on Monday, January 11, 2016.

Criminal Law—Fifth Amendment Right to Counsel—Invoking the Right to Counsel—Suppression of Statements.

The Supreme Court clarified that in determining whether a suspect in custody has made an unambiguous request for counsel, the proper standard under Davis v. United States, 512 U.S. 452, 459 (1994), is whether “a reasonable police officer in the circumstances would understand the statement to be a request for an attorney.” Applying this standard, the Court held that, under the totality of the circumstances, defendant did not unambiguously and unequivocally invoke his right to counsel. Because defendant did not invoke his right to counsel, and because he otherwise validly waived his Miranda rights before making incriminating statements, his statements should not have been suppressed.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Fee Award Determined Based on Financial Circumstances at Permanent Orders Hearing

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re Marriage of de Koning on Monday, January 11, 2016.

Divorce—Attorney Fees.

In this divorce action under the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, CRS §§ 14-10-101 to -133, the trial court postponed the attorney fees hearing until months after the permanent orders hearing and issuance of the decree dissolving the marriage. The trial court did not permit the parties to obtain evidence of changed financial circumstances between the issuance of the decree and the attorney fees hearing. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the trial court must determine the attorney fees award based on the parties’ financial circumstances at the time of the hearing on attorney fees.

The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ decision and held that for the purpose of deciding whether to award attorney fees under CRS § 14-10-119, a trial court should consider the parties’ financial resources as of the date of the issuance of the decree of dissolution or the date of the hearing on disposition of property, if such hearing precedes the date of the decree.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Felony Murder Charge Cannot Stand Where Acquitted of Predicate Offense

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Doubleday v. People on Monday, January 11, 2016.

Felony Murder—Affirmative Defenses—Duress.

A jury found John Andrew Doubleday guilty of felony murder, despite finding him not guilty, based on the affirmative defense of duress, of the charged predicate offense. Under the plain language of CRS § 18-3-102(1)(b), to be convicted of felony murder, a defendant must have committed or attempted to commit one of the enumerated predicate offenses. The question presented in this case is whether Doubleday can be said to have committed the charged predicate offense of attempted aggravated robbery when he was acquitted of that offense based on the affirmative defense of duress. The Supreme Court concluded that to establish that a defendant committed a predicate offense within the meaning of the felony murder statute, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of the predicate offense, including the inapplicability of any properly asserted affirmative defense to the predicate offense. Because the prosecution did not meet this burden here, Doubleday’s felony murder conviction cannot stand.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/12/2016

On Tuesday, January 12, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and two unpublished opinions.

He v. Lynch

Miller v. State of Utah

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