July 20, 2017

Archives for July 7, 2016

Colorado Court of Appeals: Prison Inmate Not Barred from Asserting Castle Doctrine

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Alaniz on Thursday, June 30, 2016.

Prison Cell—Prisoner—“Make-My-Day” Statute—Dwelling—Immunity.

Alaniz is an inmate in the Colorado Department of Corrections. The people filed the charges in this case after another inmate was found dead in a cell shared by Alaniz and another inmate. After the court held an evidentiary hearing, it dismissed the charges against defendant based on Colorado’s “make-my-day” statute, which provides that under certain circumstances an occupant of a dwelling who uses any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against an intruder will be immune from prosecution.

On appeal, the People contended that Alaniz was not entitled to immunity under section C.R.S. § 18-1-704.5 because a prison cell is not a dwelling for purposes of that statute. Alaniz’s prison cell meets the definition of a dwelling in C.R.S. § 18-1-901(3)(g) because it was used by persons for habitation. Further, the definition of dwelling in C.R.S. § 18-1-901(3)(g) applies to the immunity provisions of C.R.S. § 18-1-704.5.

The People next contended that the court erred in dismissing the charges because Alaniz failed to prove that he used physical force against the victim. Alaniz was merely required to establish that circumstances justifying the charged use of force were present, as set forth in C.R.S. §§ 18-1-704.5(2) and (3). Nothing in the language of that statute supports the People’s assertion that he was required to explain the entirety of his actions at the hearing in order to obtain immunity. Accordingly, the court did not err in granting Alaniz’s motion to dismiss the charges.

The order was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Jurisdiction for Appeal of Final Administrative Action Lies in Court of Appeals, Not District Court

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in West Colorado Motors, LLC v. General Motors, LLC on Thursday, June 30, 2016.

Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction—Motion to Dismiss—Final Agency Action.

Park Meadows is a franchised Buick and GMC automobile dealership located in Lone Tree. Alpine is also a franchised Buick and GMC automobile dealership located in Denver. General Motors, LLC (GM) is a manufacturer and distributor of automobiles. C.R.S. § 12-6-120.3(1) required GM to provide at least 60-days notice to certain of its franchised dealers if it intended to relocate an existing motor vehicle dealer to a location that was within another motor vehicle dealer’s “relevant market area.” GM provided statutory notice to Park Meadows that it intended to approve the relocation of the Alpine dealership to Littleton. Park Meadows then sent a letter to the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue protesting the relocation and requesting an investigation, hearing, or cease and desist order. The Executive Director responded, stating that there was no basis to proceed with an investigation. Park Meadows sent another letter to the Executive Director, alleging violations of C.R.S. § 12-6-120.3. The Executive Director responded, again stating there was no basis upon which to proceed with an investigation. Park Meadows then filed a complaint in Denver District Court alleging that GM unreasonably approved Alpine’s relocation in violation of C.R.S. § 12-6-120.3(1.5) and, in the alternative, against the Executive Director to order her to undertake an investigation or other action. The Executive Director filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that her second letter was “final agency action” that was subject to review only in the court of appeals. The district court agreed and dismissed the action as to the Executive Director. It denied a motion by Park Meadows for reconsideration. Alpine filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, which the district court granted, finding that jurisdiction for any relief lies in the court of appeals.

Park Meadows appealed all three orders, arguing that the Executive Director’s second letter did not constitute “final agency action.” The court disagreed. It found that the letter was clearly final action finding that Park Meadows had no basis on which to proceed. The court then found no abuse of discretion in the district court’s denial of Park Meadows’ motion for reconsideration. The court also affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the claim against Alpine because the court had sole jurisdiction to review the Executive Director’s decision.

The orders were affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Removal of Exemptions Did Not Create New Tax for TABOR Purposes

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in TABOR Foundation v. Regional Transportation District on Thursday, June 30, 2016.

TABOR—Summary Judgment—H.B. 13-1272—Constitutionality and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Standard.

In 2009 and 2010 the General Assembly removed the state sales tax exemption for certain items but the exemption remained in place for the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) (collectively, the Districts). To conform these exemptions, in 2013 the General Assembly enacted HB 13-1272, granting the Districts “the power to levy uniformly throughout the district a sales tax at any rate that may be approved by the board, upon every transaction or other incident with respect to which a sales tax is now levied by the state.” In 2014 the Districts began collecting taxes on some previously exempted items. The TABOR Foundation and Penn Pfiffner (the Foundation) brought this action challenging the Districts’ collection of these taxes on the grounds that they were subject to TABOR’s “voter approval in advance” requirement because they constitute a new tax and a tax policy change. The trial court disagreed, applying the unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt standard, and granted the Districts’ motions for summary judgment.

The Court of Appeals first affirmed application of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard to the constitutionality of the house bill. The Court then concluded that HB 13-1272 does not impose a new tax, but, even if it did, the RTD had received prior voter approval because it was initially authorized to impose a sales tax on “every taxable transaction, now and in the future,” and the SCFD was granted the authority to impose taxes “currently, or in the future, levied and collected.” The Court also concluded that the house bill did not constitute a tax policy change because the Districts always had the authority to impose a broad sales tax.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 7/6/2016

On Wednesday, July 6, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and three unpublished opinions.

United States v. Camacho

Bloom v. Pompa

United States v. Reed

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