October 19, 2017

Archives for October 4, 2016

Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Gale T. Miller to Retire

galemillerOn Monday, October 3, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Hon. Gale T. Miller of the Colorado Court of Appeals, effective January 17, 2017. Judge Miller was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals in August 2008. Prior to his appointment, Judge Miller was a litigator at Davis, Graham & Stubbs, LLP with trial experience in cases involving commercial and antitrust issues, natural resources, environmental law, and election law. Judge Miller was at Davis, Graham & Stubbs from 1973 through his judicial appointment in 2008. Prior to his work at DGS, Judge Miller was a trial attorney for the Federal Trade Commission. He received his undergraduate degree from Augustana College and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming Colorado Court of Appeals vacancy. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors in the State of Colorado and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available from Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice, the ex officio chair of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, and are also available on the State Judicial website. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on November 16, 2016. Anyone wishing to nominate another must do so no later than November 9, 2016.

For more information about the vacancy, click here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Reverse Transfer Request Does Not Waive Psychologist-Patient Privilege

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Johnson v. People on Monday, October 3, 2016.

Criminal Law—Juvenile Law—Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege.

This case raises two questions involving what a trial court may order when a juvenile seeks reverse-transfer of her criminal case from trial court to juvenile court. First, when a juvenile requests a reverse-transfer hearing, does she waive her psychotherapist-patient privilege, thereby authorizing a trial court to order her to produce privileged mental health records pursuant to C.R.S. § 19-2-517(3)(b)(VI)? Second, does C.R.S. § 19-2-517(3)(b)(VI) give a trial court the power to order a juvenile to submit to a state mental health assessment? As to the first question, the Colorado Supreme Court held that, because nothing in the statute states that a juvenile waives her psychotherapist–patient privilege by requesting a reverse-transfer hearing, a trial court cannot order the juvenile to produce privileged mental health records. As to the second question, the court held that, because nothing in the statute explicitly grants a trial court the power to order a mental health assessment, a trial court cannot order such an assessment. The reverse-transfer statute only requires that the trial court consider mental health records “made available” (i.e., voluntarily waived by the privilege-holder) to the trial court and the parties. Therefore, the court made its rule to show cause absolute and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Mental Health Assessment Not Court-Ordered Where Defendant Agreed to Participate

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Higgins v. People on Monday, October 3, 2016.

Criminal Law—Juvenile Law—Psychotherapist– Patient Privilege—Constitutional Law.

This companion case to People v. Johnson, 2016 CO 69, raises two questions. First, does a trial court have statutory authority to order a juvenile charged as an adult to undergo a state-administered mental health assessment for a reverse-transfer proceeding? The supreme court answered that question in the negative in Johnson, but does not answer that question here because it is hypothetical—the question is not based on the facts of this case. Second, is a trial court required, before a mental health assessment, to provide a juvenile with warnings based on the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination? The court does not answer that question either, because (1) Higgins consented to the evaluation while represented by counsel, and (2) any claims that ineffective assistance of counsel vitiated Higgins’s consent are premature. Therefore, the court vacated the order to show cause and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 10/3/2016

On Monday, October 3, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and four unpublished opinions.

Webb v. Swensen

Mallish v. Raemisch

Paulek v. Colvin

Denton v. Yancey

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