February 8, 2016

Finalists Selected for Vacancy on Seventh Judicial District Court

On February 2, 2016, the Seventh Judicial District Nominating Commission announced its selection of three nominees for appointment to the Seventh Judicial District Court to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Hon. Jeff B. Herron, effective March 1, 2016. The three nominees are Donald Corwin (Cory) Jackson of Ouray, Bennet Morris of Montrose, and Keri Yoder of Telluride.

Donald Corwin (Cory) Jackson is currently an Ouray County Court judge. He was appointed to the bench in December 2014, and prior to his appointment he was a sole practitioner at The Cory Jackson Company, LLC and the founder of the Alpine Near-Miss Survey. Bennet Morris is a Montrose County Court judge. He was appointed in August 2012, and prior to his appointment he was the Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City of Montrose. Keri Yoder is the Assistant District Attorney for the Seventh Judicial District. She has been in the Seventh Judicial District Attorney’s office for over ten years.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has fifteen days from February 3 in which to select one of the nominees for appointment. Comments about any of the nominees may be emailed to the governor’s office. For more information about the nominees, click here.

Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Amended in Rule Change 2016(01)

On Thursday, February 4, 2016, the Colorado Supreme Court posted Rule Change 2016(01), adopted January 29, 2016. The rule change affects several of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, and there are various effective dates for the changes.

C.R.C.P. 10 was changed to specify that footnotes should be in 12 point font and motions should be double-spaced. The comment to § 1-12 of Rule 121 was changed to include oral discovery in its scope. Rule 121, § 1-15, was revised significantly, changing several of the specifications for word and page limits of motions and addressing when the court should rule on motions. The comment to § 1-15 was also changed to explain some of the revisions. The changes to Rule 10 and §§ 1-12 and 1-15 of Rule 121 apply to motions filed on or after April 1, 2016.

C.R.C.P. 23, “Class Actions,” was amended by the addition of a new subsection (g), dealing with residual funds left after class action settlements. The changes to Rule 23 are effective for all class settlements approved by the court on or after July 1, 2016.

Rules 103 and 403 dealing with garnishments in district and county court were amended to provide that for pro se judgment creditors, indebtedness must be paid into the registry of the court, whereas judgment creditors represented by attorneys and collection agencies may receive funds directly. The Writ of Garnishment form was amended accordingly. These changes are effective March 1, 2016.

The amendment to Rule 359, “New Trials; Amendment of Judgments,” changed the deadline for appeal from 21 days to 14 days. The change is effective April 1, 2016.

Finally, Form 35.1, “Mandatory Disclosure,” was changed significantly. Most of the changes clarified required disclosures when a decree has been filed, specifying that only documents filed or prepared since the entry of the decree need be disclosed. These changes are effective April 1, 2016.

For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.

Comment Period Open for Proposed Changes to Colorado Appellate Rules

The Colorado Supreme Court is soliciting comments regarding proposed changes to the Colorado Appellate Rules. The changes affect Rule 3.4, “Appeals from Proceedings in Dependency and Neglect,” and the corresponding forms, JDF 545 through 549. The proposed changes to Rule 3.4 include minor changes, such as changing the word “record” to “transcript” in some places, and major changes, including the court’s continued jurisdiction over the case, composition of the record on appeal, inclusion of information about the Indian Child Welfare Act, and more. A redline of the proposed changes is available here.

Comments regarding the proposed changes may be submitted in writing to Christopher Ryan, Clerk of the Colorado Supreme Court, via email or via U.S. mail to 2 E. 14th Ave., Denver, CO 80203. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on April 6, 2016. Comments will be posted on the State Judicial website after the comment period has closed.

For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.

Hon. R. Michael Mullins to Retire and Hon. Ann Frick to Resign from Second Judicial District Court

On Monday, January 25, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced that Hon. R. Michael Mullins will retire from the Second Judicial District Court, effective July 1, 2016, and Hon. Ann Frick will resign from that court, effective July 1, 2016.

Judge Mullins was appointed to the district court bench in 1990. Prior to his appointment, he practiced in the litigation section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and was a trial attorney in the Denver Office of the Colorado State Public Defender. He was also an attorney in private practice, specializing in criminal, administrative, and workers’ compensation law. He received his undergraduate degree from St. Louis University and his law degree from the University of Colorado Law School.

Judge Frick was appointed to the district court bench in June 2010. Prior to her appointment, she spent several years at the boutique firm, Kelly, Haglund, Garnsey & Kahn, and also worked at Holme Roberts Owen (now Bryan Cave) and the Denver District Attorney’s Office. She also was a founder and name partner of the Jacobs Chase firm, where she practiced complex business and real estate litigation.

Applications are now being accepted for the vacancies. Eligible applicants must be qualified electors of the Second Judicial District and must have been admitted to practice law in Colorado for five years. Application forms are available on the State Judicial website and are also available from the ex officio chair of the Second Judicial District Nominating Commission, Justice Monica Marquez. Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on March 8, 2016. Anyone wishing to nominate another person must do so in writing no later than 4 p.m. on March 1, 2016.

For more information about the vacancies, click here.

Amanda Hunter Appointed to Custer County Court

On Thursday, January 14, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper’s office announced the governor’s appointment of Amanda Hunter to the Custer County Court, effective immediately. Hunter will fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Hon. Peter Michaelson to the Eighteenth Judicial District Court.

Hunter currently works at the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office in Salida, where she has been since 2011. Prior to that, she was a law clerk at the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender for four months and a law clerk at the Iowa State Public Defender’s office for four months. She also worked at the Credit Advisors Foundation for seven years. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in 2002 and her law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2011.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Comment Period Open for Proposed Changes to Rule 120

The Colorado State Judicial Branch announced proposed changes to Rule 120 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, “Orders Authorizing Sales Under Powers.” The changes are extensive, and include changing the title of the rule to be “Orders Authorizing Foreclosure Sale Under Power in a Deed of Trust to the Public Trustee.”A redline of the proposed changes is available here.

The supreme court is now accepting comments on the proposed changes to Rule 120. Comments may be made in writing via email to Christopher Ryan, the Clerk of the Supreme Court, or via U.S. Mail at 2 E. 14th Ave., Denver, CO 80203. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on April 6, 2016. Comments will be posted on the State Judicial website after the close of the comment period.

New CJD 16-01 Repeals and Replaces CJD 04-03

Effective January 1, 2016, the Chief Justice Nancy Rice of the Colorado Supreme Court adopted Chief Justice Directive 16-01, “Establishment of Statewide Probation Priorities,” to replace and repeal CJD 04-03. The Chief Justice Directive updates priority lists for offender supervision for investigation, supervision, and probation performance review. The goal of the new priorities is to maximize public safety by directing offender supervision resources to the highest risk offenders.

Click here to read CJD 16-01. Click here for all of the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Directives.

Frances Koncilja Appointed to Public Utilities Commission

On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper announced his appointment of Frances Koncilja to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), effective January 12, 2016, and expiring in 2020. The PUC provides regulatory oversight of Colorado’s public utilities, including electricity, natural gas, heating utilities, drinking water, transportation, and telecommunications. The PUC consists of three commissioners who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

Ms. Koncilja is currently the principal of Koncilja Law Firm, P.C., where she represents both plaintiffs and defendants in commercial litigation. She also represents parties in class action disputes. She began her career as a public defender in 1972 and later served as an Assistant United States Attorney. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Colorado and her law degree from the University of Colorado.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Gary Kramer and Patricia Herron Appointed to 18th Judicial District Court

On Wednesday, January 6, 2016, the governor’s office announced his appointment of Gary Kramer and Patricia Herron to the Eighteenth Judicial District Court. Kramer will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. Gerald Rafferty, effective January 23, 2016, and Herron will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. Christopher Cross, effective February 8, 2016.

Kramer is currently the chair of the litigation department at Berenbaum Weinshienk, P.C., where he focuses on complex probate and domestic litigation for high-asset clients throughout Colorado. He received both his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Colorado, where he was in the Order of the Coif in law school and was articles editor for the law review. He is a contributing author to CLE’s Colorado Estate Planning Handbook. 

Herron is currently a Senior Assistant Attorney General in the litigation division, where she focuses on civil cases involving torts, civil rights, antitrust violations, personal injuries, and medical injuries. She also currently works at the Aurora Municipal Court, where she is a relief judge. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma and her law degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law.

For more information about the appointments, click here.

Three Chief Justice Directives Related to Family Law Amended

On Friday, January 1, 2016, three amended Chief Justice Directives were issued by the Colorado Supreme Court: CJD 04-06, regarding court appointments through the Office of the Child’s Representative (OCR), CJD 04-05, regarding payment of court-appointed attorney child representatives, and CJD 04-08, regarding court appointment of Child and Family Investigators (CFIs).

The changes to CJD 04-05 are due to legislation passed in 2015. HB 15-1153 transferred oversight of state-paid attorney CFIs from the Office of the Child’s Representative to the Office of the State Court Administrator, and CJD 04-05 was amended to reflect this change. CJD 04-06 was also amended to eliminate appointments of state-paid CFIs from the Office of the Child’s Representative, and to clarify GAL appointments in dependency and neglect cases, establish standards for GALs in delinquency proceedings and other cases, and require attorneys to submit a certificate of compliance with the CJD’s requirements to the OCR for all case types.

The changes to CJD 04-08 were significant. Judges who routinely appoint CFIs are encouraged to request a redline of the changes, given the volume of changes. State Judicial summarized some of the changes below:

• Regarding CFI oversight, SCAO will oversee all CFI appointments, with all state pay CFI appointments governed by CJD 04-05. OCR will have no involvement in CFI oversight or payment.
• Regarding expansion of CFI appointments, courts may expand a CFI appointment to a parental responsibility evaluation for an otherwise qualified appointee only upon written stipulation of the parties, approved by the court.
• Regarding the presumptive fee cap in private pay CFI cases, the cap increased from $2,000 to $2,750. This amount is a cap, not a flat fee.
• Regarding CFI complaints, complaints must be filed no later than one year following termination of the CFI appointment. No investigation will occur for complaints involving individuals not listed on the Statewide Roster. Regarding founded complaints, District Administrators will provide the complaint, investigation report and CFI report to regulatory agencies entitled to notice of the founded complaint, such as DORA and OARC, redacting the names, addresses and birthdates of the children and collateral witnesses, and with the redacted documents marked, “Confidential pursuant to CJD 04-08.” No complaint is required for a district to find a CFI no longer suitable for appointment and to remove the CFI from the district’s eligibility roster. When this occurs, the district must notify the SCAO of the reason for removal and SCAO will determine whether to remove the CFI from the Statewide Roster.
• Regarding Standard 2, CFIs must file JDF 1338, the Mandatory Disclosure form, to disclose the existence or nonexistence of a prior or current relationship.
• Regarding Standard 11, the “timely” filing of a report when the court has not specified a due date is defined as “at least 35 days before the trial or hearing.” Reports should not recite all information obtained during the investigation, but rather summarize legally relevant information.
• Regarding Standard 12, requests for CFI files must be written. Standard 12 now contains a default time frame for provision of the CFI file and adds a permissible rate for file duplication or scanning.
• Regarding Standard 13, CFIs shall not perform or require drug, alcohol, polygraph or other testing, inspection or evaluation unless specifically ordered by the court. Standard 13 now permits a qualified CFI to conduct drug and alcohol evaluation in addition to other CFI duties when specifically ordered. CFIs may conduct domestic violence screening if competent to do so.

For all of the Chief Justice Directives, click here.

Ramsey Lama Appointed to District Court Bench in 11th Judicial District

On Tuesday, December 29, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper’s office announced the appointment of Ramsey Lama to the Eleventh Judicial District Court Bench, effective January 12, 2016. Lama will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Hon. David Thorson.

Lama currently is a solo practitioner in Salida at the Law Offices of Ramsey Lama, where he practices criminal defense. Prior to opening his solo practice, Lama worked at the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office in Grand Junction and Salida. He also worked for the Cleveland Public Defender’s Office in Ohio. He received his law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law, cum laude, and his undergraduate degree from Aquinas College in Michigan.

 

Comment Period Open for Proposed Amendments to ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4

The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has developed proposed amendments to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The Standing Committee has proposed the addition of a subsection (g) to Model Rule 8.4 to address discrimination in the practice of law, and a revision to the comments to explain the purpose of new subsection (g):

Rule 8.4: Misconduct

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

***

(g) in conduct related to the practice of law, harass or knowingly discriminate against persons on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status.

 

Comment [3] Paragraph (g) applies to conduct related to a lawyer’s practice of law, including the operation and management of a law firm or law practice. It does not apply to conduct unrelated to the practice of law or conduct protected by the First Amendment. Harassment or discrimination that violates paragraph (g) undermines confidence in the legal profession and our legal system. Paragraph (g) does not prohibit lawyers from referring to any particular status or group when such references are material and relevant to factual or legal issues or arguments in a representation. Although lawyers should be mindful of their professional obligations under Rule 6.1 to provide legal services to those unable to pay, as well as the obligations attendant to accepting a court appointment under Rule 6.2, a lawyer is usually not required to represent any specific person or entity. Paragraph (g) does not alter the circumstances stated in Rule 1.16 under which a lawyer is required or permitted to withdraw from or decline to accept a representation. A lawyer who, in the course of representing a client, knowingly manifests by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, violates paragraph (d) when such actions are prejudicial to the administration of justice. Legitimate advocacy respecting the foregoing factors does not violate paragraph (d). A trial judge’s finding that peremptory challenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish a violation of this rule.

The Standing Committee also issued a memorandum explaining the origin of the amendments, available here. The memorandum explains that although the comments to the Model Rules have addressed discrimination in the practice of law for many years, the Committee thought it important to add the prohibition to the black letter portion of the Model Rules in order to authoritatively prohibit discrimination. As the ABA Young Lawyers Division eloquently explained, “There is a need for a cultural shift in understanding the inherent integrity of people regardless of their race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability, to be captured in the rules of professional conduct. This is true because the Model Rules are supposed to ensure the integrity of the legal profession.”

The Standing Committee invites comments on the draft proposal, both in writing and at its public hearing from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 7, 2016, at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, 3rd Floor, South Tower, Balboa & Mission Hills Meeting Rooms, San Diego, CA. Persons wishing to speak should register by sending an email to abamodelruleamend@americanbar.org by January 29, 2016. Speakers should be prepared to speak for four to five minutes and then take questions from the Committee, and there may not be time to accommodate all interested speakers. Comments may be submitted in writing as well to the above email address by March 11, 2016. Comments will be made publicly available.

For more information about the proposed Model Rule change, click here.