January 20, 2017

Colorado Court of Appeals: Time Frame for Appeal of Paternity Determination Arises from C.A.R. 4

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of N.S. on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

Dependency and Neglect— Juvenile Court Jurisdiction—Paternity Adjudication.

The El Paso County Department of Human Services (the Department) filed a dependency and neglect petition on behalf of N.S. The mother’s boyfriend was listed as respondent-father, and the child was placed with him. At a pretrial conference, the juvenile court found that the boyfriend had not been adjudicated the child’s legal father and therefore ordered genetic paternity testing. The juvenile court adjudicated N.S. dependent and neglected. The Department subsequently amended the petition to list A.C. as respondent-father. A.C. was confirmed to be the biological father through genetic paternity testing. Following a paternity hearing, the juvenile court adjudicated A.C. as the child’s legal father.

Boyfriend appealed and the Colorado Court of Appeals issued an order to show cause why his appeal should not be dismissed pursuant to the time frames of C.A.R. 3.4(b)(1). Boyfriend responded that his appeal was governed by C.A.R. 4(a). The court ordered the parties to brief (1) whether the notice of appeal was due within 21 days of the date of the final, appealable order under C.A.R. 3.4; and (2) whether the juvenile court had jurisdiction to issue the judgment of paternity in a dependency and neglect proceeding.

The court first concluded that the plain language of C.A.R. 3.4 shows that the rule does not apply to paternity actions. C.A.R. 4 does not list specific orders that are appealable, and in the absence of any limiting language, its 49-day time frame applied.

The court then stated that the juvenile court has exclusive original jurisdiction in dependency and neglect proceedings to determine parentage. But when a paternity issue arises in these proceedings, the juvenile court must follow the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) procedures. Here, both presumptive fathers were parties to the proceeding, had actual notice that a legal finding of paternity was necessary, and did not object to the juvenile court deciding the matter. Accordingly, the juvenile court had subject matter jurisdiction under the UPA.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: High School Student’s Tweets Did Not Constitute True Threats or Fighting Words

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of R.D. on Thursday, December 30, 2016.

Social Media—Juvenile Delinquent—Harassment—First Amendment—Right to Free Speech—True Threats—Fighting Words.

R.D., a high school student, argued with a student from a different high school through tweets on the social networking website Twitter. The People filed a petition in delinquency against R.D., and the district court adjudicated R.D. a juvenile delinquent based on conduct that would constitute harassment if committed by an adult.

On appeal, R.D. argued that C.R.S. § 18-9-111(1)(e) as applied to his conduct violated his First Amendment right to free speech. The People responded that R.D.’s statements were not protected by the First Amendment because they were true threats and fighting words. While the language of R.D.’s tweets was violent and explicit, R.D.’s tweets did not constitute true threats because they were not “a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.” Fighting words can occur only when the speaker is in close physical proximity to the recipient. R.D. was not in close physical proximity to A.C. at the time of the incident. Because R.D.’s statements were neither true threats nor fighting words, the statute as applied violated his First Amendment rights.

The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded with directions to vacate the adjudication of juvenile delinquency and dismiss the proceeding.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Top Ten Programs and Homestudies of 2016: Criminal Law

The year is drawing to a close, which means that the compliance period is ending for a third of Colorado’s attorneys. Still missing some credits? Don’t worry, CBA-CLE has got you covered.

Today on Legal Connection we are featuring the Top Ten Criminal Law Programs and Homestudies. In addition to today’s featured programs and homestudies, CBA-CLE offers several books for criminal law practitioners and many other programs. Find out more here – cle.cobar.org/Practice-Area/Criminal. And now, for the Top Ten Criminal Law Programs and Homestudies…

10. Cell Phone Privacy in the Age of Surveillance: Location Tracking, Searches, and Smart Phone Privacy
This CLE covers the basics of cell phone tracking technology, limitations on its accuracy, and strategies for cross-examining cell phone experts. It also includes a section on the legality of law enforcement searches of cell phones and strategies to keep information private. Order the Video OnDemand here and the MP3 here. Available for 1 general credit.

9. Legal Writing in Criminal Law
This program contains presentations from Robert Mark Russel of the Office of the United States Attorney on Efficient Writing, Honorable Raymond P. Moore of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado on Legal Writing and Motions Practice in Criminal Cases at the Trial Court Level, Honorable Steven L. Bernard of the Colorado Court of Appeals on “Top Ten” Observations About Legal Writing in Criminal Law Cases, Norman R. Mueller of Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, P.C., on Ethics and Legal Writing in Criminal Law Cases, Exploring Efficiency from the Perspective of Both the Reader and the Writer, Motions Practice at the Trial Court Level, and “Top Ten” Observations About Legal Writing in Criminal Law Cases. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 5 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

8. Felony DUI: The Law and Penalties
Learn the ins and outs of Colorado’s new felony DUI law, which creates a class four felony for a forth offense and also creates new sentencing schemes and alternatives for multiple offenders. Colorado recently became the 47th state to have a felony DUI charge for multiple offenders. Not only does the new law create a felony offense for fourth offenses, but it redefines the sentencing criteria for multiple offenders and gives courts more options for punishment and rehabilitation. Learn about the intricacies of the new law as well as a general DUI law update from one of Colorado’s top criminal and DUI defense attorneys, Jay Tiftickjian. Order the Video OnDemand here and the MP3 here. Available for 1 general credit.

7. The NEW Criminal Jury Instructions AND Criminal Law Motions Practice: Criminal Law Spring Update 2015
On September 3, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court announced the release of new Model Criminal Jury Instructions. The Colorado Supreme Court Model Criminal Jury Instructions Committee developed the new model instructions since its official creation in October 2011, and intends to keep the instructions up to date by issuing periodic supplements or new editions. The entire first half of the Spring Update is devoted to the new instructions. Not only will you hear from the Reporter of Model Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, but you’ll also hear a panel presentation on how the new instructions are working. Knowing how to craft a persuasive pretrial motion is essential to your criminal law practice, whether you sit on the prosecution or defense side of the aisle. The second half is be devoted to persuasive motions practice. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 7 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

6. Search & Seizure Law in Colorado: Update and Overview
Not one word of the Fourth Amendment has changed in over 200 years, but search and seizure law is constantly evolving, as new cases are added to the Fourth Amendment mosaic. Staying current on the latest developments in this area of the law can be difficult and overwhelming. This half-day seminar will give practitioners an overview of search and seizure law, while highlighting the latest decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court and Colorado appellate courts. It is designed to be useful for both experienced criminal law experts, as well as new practitioners. Each homestudy order receives a PDF copy of the CBA-CLE book, Search & Seizure Law in Colorado, as part of the course materials for this program. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 4 general credits.

5. DUI Basics: A Nuts-and-Bolts Approach
This program is geared for anyone who practices DUI defense. It is a “nuts-and-bolts” approach with a strong emphasis on defending drug-related DUI cases. The information provided will assist attorneys who have never litigated a DUI case before, as well as the most seasoned DUI defenders. With faculty members who are considered some of the best litigators in the DUI criminal bar, as well as county court judges who can explain the intricacies of DUI and sobriety court, this seminar is certain to give you the tools to succeed when representing a client facing a driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs charge. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 6 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

4. Restorative Justice
Restorative justice laws have been on the books in Colorado for over a decade. Learn what they are, what restorative justice IS and IS NOT, and how restorative justice practices can serve you and your clients. Restorative Justice Council Members Judge Martin Gonzales, Assistant District Attorney Robert Miller (19th JD) and Public Defender Elizabeth Porter-Merrill (Appellate Courts CO) join Colorado’s Restorative Justice Coordinator, Deb Witzel to dispel myths and answer your questions. Order the Video OnDemand here and the MP3 here. Available for 2 general credits.

3. Juvenile Jurisprudence: Criminal Law Fall Update 2016
Join Colorado Supreme Court Justice Brian Boatright as he shares United States Supreme Court jurisprudence on juvenile law with you. Then renowned expert Mark Evans will discuss collateral consequences of a conviction in a juvenile case. Next, Dr. Birgit Fisher will lead a fascinating talk on how the risk-need-responsivity model has been used with increasing success to assess and rehabilitate offenders. Get insight on juvenile transfer hearings, as well as sentencing challenges and the unique ethical challenges in juvenile delinquency cases. Your day will end with a panel presentation of young people who will share their experiences about the juvenile detention system in Colorado, including the legal ramifications. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 7 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

2. DUI and DUID: Advanced Practice
Do you represent clients facing driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs charges? This program will assist seasoned DUI and DUID defenders to better represent their clients. It will also provide those of you who want to defend, or who have been asked to defend, DUI or DUID cases, with important knowledge as well as an update on major issues impacting those cases. The typical, and not so typical, nuances and skills in defending alcohol and drug-related DUI cases, will also be addressed by your faculty of experts. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 7 general credits.

1. The Art and Science of Jury Selection: Criminal Law Spring Update 2016
The right to trial by jury in criminal cases is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the laws of every state. “Voir dire,” is Latin for “to speak the truth.” In voir dire, the judge and attorneys for both sides ask potential jurors questions to determine if they are competent and suitable to serve in the case. Most attorneys would agree there is both a science and an art to voir dire, and that your case can either be won or lost at this stage. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 6 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Any Relevance of Polygraph Examination Overly Prejudicial and Confusing to Jury

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of G.E.S. on Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Dependency and Neglect—Sexual Abuse—Evidence—Psychosexual Evaluation—Polygraph Examination—Child Hearsay.

Father’s 12-year-old stepdaughter, J.O-E., made allegations of father’s inappropriate sexual behavior toward her to her therapist. She made additional allegations in a recorded forensic interview. Shortly thereafter, J.O-E. recanted her story. In the meantime, the family voluntarily cooperated with the Department of Human Services (Department) and followed the Department’s recommended safety plan, which required father to leave the family home and have no contact with his infant child G.E.S. or any of his three stepchildren. Father took a psychosexual evaluation, but because he refused to take a polygraph examination, the Department filed a dependency and neglect petition as to G.E.S. Father denied the allegations and requested a jury trial. At a pre-trial hearing, the court determined that J.O-E. was unavailable to testify, and at trial, admitted her hearsay statements without her testifying. The court also ruled that the probative value of evidence regarding the evaluation and polygraph refusal outweighed its prejudicial effect and allowed this evidence. After the jury returned its verdict, the court entered judgment adjudicating G.E.S. dependent and neglected.

On appeal, father contended that the district court erred in admitting evidence that he underwent a psychosexual evaluation and refused to undergo a polygraph examination. Under the Children’s Code, father had no duty to cooperate by completing a psychosexual evaluation and polygraph. Further, evidence of polygraph test results is per se inadmissible at an adjudicatory trial because they are not reliable. Here, the prejudicial impact of both the polygraph evidence and evidence of father’s partial cooperation with the Department’s request that he complete its evaluative processes required reversal.

Father also contended that the court erred in admitting J.O-E.’s hearsay statements. Under CRS § 13-25-129(1), an out-of-court statement made by a child describing an unlawful sexual offense, which would otherwise be inadmissible, is admissible if the court determines that (1) the time, content, and circumstances of the statements provide sufficient safeguards of reliability; and (2) the child either testifies at trial or is unavailable as a witness and there is corroborative evidence of the act that is the subject of the statements. Here, father did not challenge the court’s findings that the statements were reliable and that corroborative evidence supported J.O-E.’s statements. The Court of Appeals agreed with the district court that the Sixth Amendments’ Confrontation Clause does not extend to dependency and neglect cases, and the record supported the finding that J.O.-E. was not available to testify, because testifying would gravely harm her mental and emotional health. Thus, the court did not abuse its discretion in admitting J.O-E.’s hearsay statements.

The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

When Your Client’s Kid Needs Help: Juvenile Criminal Justice for Every Attorney

pow6qw4fks1i955Every lawyer has had the experience of their client asking questions about an area of law in which they don’t practice. A tax lawyer may field questions about her client’s DUI matter. An immigration attorney may receive a question from his client about preparing an estate plan. A domestic relations attorney may hear questions about her client’s business. Regardless of an attorney’s area of expertise, clients will ask legal questions and expect informed answers.

So what do you do when your client tells you his kid might be in trouble with the law? Because few matters are more important to a parent than the well-being of his or her child, knowing what to say and when to recommend that your client seek a juvenile defense attorney is vital.

From the legalization of marijuana in Colorado to the perils of social media, kids live in a different world than a generation ago. These days, it seems there are more and more ways for kids to find themselves in trouble with the law, not because of criminal intent, but because the children or their families do not understand what behavior the law criminalizes. The pitfalls kids face in the criminal system and school disciplinary settings can be extraordinary, and the consequences can be far-reaching—even lifelong.

In seeking to protect the client’s children from lifelong consequences, it is imperative and ethically required for an attorney to fully understand the laws applicable to the matter, or to find someone who specializes in juvenile law to provide guidance. The Criminal Code and Children’s Code are complex, and children are frequently treated differently than adults in regard to criminal matters.

On Monday, December 12, 2016, attorney Lara Marks Baker will deliver a one-hour breakfast presentation on guiding your client through juvenile criminal justice issues. This program is a great way to learn about what to do when your clients need help with their kids. Lara will highlight the federal and state laws which are frequently implicated in matters of juvenile justice, and when to signal a client that criminal or disciplinary matters may be forthcoming. Register by calling (303) 860-0608 or by clicking the links below.

CLELogo

CLE Program: When Your Client’s Kid Needs Help

This CLE presentation will occur on December 12, 2016, at the CBA-CLE offices (1900 Grant Street, Third Floor), from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Register for the live program here or register for the webcast here. You may also call (303) 860-0608 to register.

Can’t make the live program? Order the homestudy here: MP3Video OnDemand.

Colorado Gives: Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center Transforms the Lives of Abused and Neglected Children Through Compassion

Colorado Gives: CBA CLE Legal Connection will be focusing on several Colorado legal charities in the next few days to prepare for Colorado Gives Day, December 6, 2016. These charities, and many, many others, greatly appreciate your donations of time and money.

childrens-law-center-logo-gFor over thirty years, the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center has provided compassionate legal advocacy and clinical services to children who have been abused or neglected. Through a team of legal professionals and social workers, the Children’s Law Center serves at-risk children and considers the whole child with each recommendation regarding the child’s best interest.

The Children’s Law Center also works for public policy change, working to make children a political priority at the local, state, and national levels. The Children’s Law Center has made great progress in this area. They created the first Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman Program, promoted a 2013 Senate Bill to reduce the number of child abuse fatalities in the state, promoted a 2013 House Bill to streamline the process to report child abuse, and much more.

The Children’s Law Center has several programs devoted to legal advocacy for children. The Education Program promotes the adoption of policies and procedures in the schools and legislature to recognize the impact of trauma on children’s learning behaviors, reduce school transfers for children in the child protection system, and redirect children in the school disciplinary system from the school-to-prison pipeline. The Children’s Law Center also has a caregiver advocacy program, a domestic violence program, a trauma-informed yoga program, and a therapeutic garden.

The Children’s Law Center relies on donations to continue providing compassionate legal advocacy to abused, neglected, and at-risk children. Their annual operating expenses total over one million dollars per year. Donate on Colorado Gives Day by clicking here or any day by filling out the form on this webpage.

Colorado Gives: Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network Promotes a More Humane Immigration System

Colorado Gives: CBA CLE Legal Connection will be focusing on several Colorado legal charities in the next few days to prepare for Colorado Gives Day, December 6, 2016. These charities, and many, many others, greatly appreciate your donations of time and money.

rmianThe Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) is a nonprofit legal services organization that believes justice for immigrants means justice for all. RMIAN provides life-changing legal services to vulnerable immigrant children in Colorado, and to adults in immigration detention. Without this assistance from RMIAN’s attorneys, RMIAN’s child clients and individuals in detention would be forced to face immigration court hearings entirely on their own, an injustice by any standard. A national study, headed by a federal judge, found that immigrants with lawyers are five times more likely to win their cases than those without. For many, a loss in immigration court means deportation and a forced return to the persecution, abuse, or other violence from which they fled. For many others, it signifies a permanent and heartbreaking separation from spouses, partners, children, siblings, and other loved ones.  RMIAN’s programs are dedicated to ensuring legal representation, due process, and support.

RMIAN’s Detention Program has a daily presence at the immigration detention center in Aurora, Colorado, where over 900 individuals are detained on civil immigration charges every day. RMIAN’s attorneys provide know-your-rights presentations before detained individuals have to go before the immigration judge for the first time, assist with applications and case preparation, refer cases to pro bono attorneys, represent clients, and provide social service support for the most vulnerable detainees. Recent RMIAN cases involving clients in detention include a man from Somalia granted asylum on the basis of his political opinion; a longtime lawful permanent resident granted a second chance by the immigration judge to stay with his family in Colorado; a young man from Honduras granted asylum based on the persecution he would face because of his sexual orientation; and numerous clients who won bond reductions with RMIAN’s representation. In 2015, RMIAN’s Detention Program provided 209 know-your-rights presentations to over 1,700 individuals in detention, conducted over 800 individual intakes, held 33 workshops for over 100 individuals fighting their cases on their own, and provided intensive individual assistance to over 500 detainees. In addition, RMIAN’s staff attorneys and volunteer attorneys represented 59 clients in their complete immigration court cases.

RMIAN’s Children’s Program provides immigration legal services to children through Colorado. Recent clients include a young man who was granted a T visa based on being a victim of human trafficking; several children who won Special Immigrant Juvenile Status as a result of being abused, abandoned or neglected; several young crime victims and their family members who were granted U Visas; and numerous youth who were granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. In the past several years, RMIAN’s Children’s Program has seen an exponential increase in its representation of unaccompanied children who fled horrors in their home countries and who are now seeking asylum and other immigration relief before the Denver Immigration Court. In 2015, RMIAN’s Children’s program directly represented 288 children, conducted 658 intakes and consultations, and referred 205 cases to pro bono attorneys. By providing free legal services to immigrant children, as well as outreach efforts to community partners, RMIAN educates children and their families on the rights and protections to which they are entitled under federal immigration law and works to ensure that Colorado’s communities are safe.

In addition to direct legal services, RMIAN provides community education and training about immigration law, particularly as it relates to individuals in immigration detention and immigrant children. In 2015, RMIAN gave 66 presentations to 2,210 community members.

Please consider making a donation to RMIAN today to help us fulfill our values statement, “We believe that justice for immigrants means justice for all.” Donations may be mailed directly to RMIAN at 3489 West 72nd Avenue, Suite 211, Westminster, CO 80030 or via RMIAN’s website at www.rmian.org  RMIAN is participating in Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Jury Finding of No Dependency and Neglect Not Final Appealable Order

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of S.M.-L. on Thursday, November 17, 2016.

Dependency and NeglectFinal and Appealable Order.

The Department of Human Services (Department) filed a dependency and neglect petition regarding S.M-L., B.M-M, and R.S. (the children). The petition named D.S. as R.S.’s biological father and named G.S. as the mother of all of the children. The Department asserted that father had sexually abused his stepdaughter S.M-L. He was arrested and criminally charged with sexual abuse. Father denied the allegations and mother believed S.M-L was lying about them. Mother requested a bench trial and father requested a jury trial.

As to mother, the court found the allegations in the petition had been proven by a preponderance of the evidence and entered an order adjudicating the children dependent and neglected. However, the jury returned a verdict as to father finding that R.S. was not dependent or neglected. The Department moved for an adjudication of father notwithstanding the verdict. The trial court denied the motion and dismissed father from the petition. Both the Department and mother appealed.

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued an order to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed for lack of a final, appealable order, noting that it was unaware of any authority for the proposition that dismissing a parent from a petition based on a jury verdict was a final appealable order. C.R.S. § 19-1-109(2)(c) provides that an order decreeing a child to be neglected or dependent shall be a final and appealable order upon the entry of the disposition. This section does not address the dismissal of a party from the petition based on a jury’s verdict finding a child was not dependent or neglected as to that party. The court also noted that after the jury determined that R.S. was not dependent or neglected as to father, the trial court did not have jurisdiction to enter any orders other than dismissal of the petition. Because a jury’s “no adjudication” verdict is not a proper basis for a motion for adjudication notwithstanding the verdict and thus is not a final appealable order under C.A.R. 3.4(a) or C.R.S. § 19-1-109(2)(c), the Department’s appeal was dismissed.

Mother challenged her adjudication on several grounds, but the court found no reversible error because the evidence supported the trial court’s factual findings.

The Department’s appeal was dismissed and the order adjudicating mother was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Gives: Disability Law Colorado Recognizes the Inherent Value of All People and Embraces Empowerment

Colorado Gives: CBA CLE Legal Connection will be focusing on several Colorado legal charities in the next few days to prepare for Colorado Gives Day, December 6, 2016. These charities, and many, many others, greatly appreciate your donations of time and money.

dlc-630x160Disability Law Colorado (formerly known as The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People) was created in 1976 out of the dream of a small group of parents who came together to secure equal rights for their children with developmental disabilities who were living in state institutions. These parents wanted a better life for their children and believed that all people with disabilities deserved the right to live full and rewarding lives. Disability Law Colorado’s early successes included requiring school districts to pay for children’s education in public schools, allowing children with severe disabilities to attend school for the first time. Disability Law Colorado also succeeded in preventing sterilization of people with developmental disabilities and preventing workplace discrimination against people with disabilities.

In 1977, the governor designated Disability Law Colorado to be Colorado’s Protection and Advocacy (P&A) System for people with developmental disabilities. Today, Disability Law Colorado is recognized as a leader in the National Disability Rights Network made up of Protection and Advocacy programs from all the states and territories.

For Colorado Gives Day, Disability Law Colorado has a $15,000 fundraising goal. By donating through Colorado Gives, your gift will go further thanks to a $1 million dollar incentive fund. Click here to donate.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Deferred Juvenile Adjudication Not Predicate Felony Offense for POWPO Purposes

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of A.B. on Thursday, November 17, 2016.

A.B., a juvenile, was the rear driver’s side passenger in a parked car when police blocked the car due to a noise violation from the car’s loud stereo. All three of the vehicle’s occupants exited when the police arrived, and an officer saw A.B. pull a gun from his waistband and throw it into the car. He was charged with possession of a weapon by a previous offender (POWPO) based on a prior incident in which A.B. accepted a deferred adjudication on a charge of aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree, a felony.

Before trial, A.B. moved to suppress the weapon, arguing the search was unconstitutional because when police officers ordered him to get back in the car, they seized him but lacked reasonable suspicion to do so. The trial court denied the motion to suppress based on the officer’s testimony that he saw A.B. throw the gun into the car. The officer presented the same testimony at trial. When the prosecution rested, A.B. moved for judgment of acquittal, arguing the deferred adjudication did not constitute a prior adjudication for POWPO purposes. The court denied his motion, and A.B. was convicted and sentenced to two years in youth corrections.

On appeal, A.B. argued the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress. The court of appeals disagreed. The court declined to reach the constitutional issue of whether the encounter was a seizure for Fourth Amendment purposes, and instead found that the officers had reasonable suspicion that every person in the vehicle was violating the Denver Municipal Code’s noise ordinance. Therefore, the court found that the officers had reasonable suspicion to seize A.B. based on a violation of the noise ordinance.

A.B. next argued that his deferred adjudication was not a predicate felony for POWPO purposes. The court of appeals agreed. The court analyzed the POWPO statute applicable to juveniles, C.R.S. § 18-12-108(3), and found no reference to deferred adjudications. A.B. relied on the plain statutory language in arguing that because he accepted a deferred adjudication, he was not actually adjudicated at the time of the POWPO offense. The Attorney General analogized the juvenile statute to its adult counterpart, relying on cases interpreting “conviction” to include deferred judgments. The court of appeals analyzed the juvenile delinquency statutes and found that they distinguished deferred adjudications from adjudications of juvenile delinquency both as to definition and effect. The court found that the General Assembly expressly equated deferred adjudications to delinquency adjudications in several instances, evidencing an intent to separate the two definitions. The court found that A.B.’s deferred adjudication was not a predicate offense for POWPO purposes.

The court of appeals affirmed the denial of the suppression order, reversed the adjudication, vacated the sentence, and remanded for entry of judgment of acquittal.

When Your Client’s Kid Needs Help — Advising Clients Whose Children are in Trouble

On Thursday, November 17, 2016, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest in R.C. When R.C. was 14 years old, he took a picture of his friend, L.P., during class one day. R.C. used Snapchat to draw a picture of a penis ejaculating near L.P.’s face. R.C. showed the picture to L.P. and three other friends, giggling. One other friend laughed, but L.P. felt bad. The class ended and the boys went to lunch. In the cafeteria, R.C. showed the altered pic to a few more people. L.P.’s friends could tell he was upset and asked R.C. to apologize, which he tried to do, but L.P. pushed him away. After lunch, L.P. and his friends reported the incident to the school’s principal.

R.C. was charged with disorderly conduct, and, after a trial, the court found that R.C. had committed disorderly conduct and sentenced him to three months’ probation, therapy, and eight hours of work crew.

R.C. appealed, arguing the prosecution failed to prove every element of disorderly conduct and that his drawing was protected speech under the First Amendment, because only “fighting words” were banned and the altered photo did not qualify as “fighting words.” The Colorado Court of Appeals noted that “fighting words” are words that by their very utterance tend to provoke retaliatory conduct in others. The court remarked that the Colorado statute does not prohibit utterances or displays that inflict injury, but only those that tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.

The court found that the cartoon-like drawing on the photo was not enough to constitute “fighting words.” The court noted that the district court had apparently found the picture to be “fighting words” because it implied that L.P. was gay, and disagreed with this reasoning. The court found no evidence that R.C. intended to imply L.P. was gay, and even if he did, the court remarked, “We disagree with the district court, and the dissent, that the suggestion of homosexuality or homosexual conduct is so shameful and humiliating that it should be expected to provoke a violent reaction from an ordinary person.” The court determined that the average person, even the average 14-year-old, would not be expected to fly into a violent rage by seeing a picture of himself with a penis drawn on it.

The court of appeals agreed with R.C. that his photo did not amount to fighting words, and therefore found that the government failed to prove an element of the offense. The court of appeals reversed the conviction.


It is no surprise that adolescents make bad decisions. Many 14-year-old boys have joked about their friends inappropriately. R.C. did just that. But for R.C., the bad decision had severe consequences. His immature and inappropriate decision to draw a picture of a penis ejaculating near his friend’s face caused him far more than a phone call home from the principal. He faced years of legal troubles. He was charged with a criminal offense, went to trial, and was convicted. Although his conviction was reversed on appeal, he spent many years fighting it.

R.C. could have been any kid who made an immature decision. R.C.’s parents could have been any of us. But what happens when R.C.’s parents happen to be your clients for a business transaction, or estate planning, or even for a domestic dispute? The parents, your clients, are naturally going to call you for advice.

All too often attorneys are contacted by a current client that has a kid accused of wrongdoing. Federal and state laws have increased the number of suspensions, expulsions, probation, and criminal allegations against high school and college students. Educate yourself about how the laws work in Colorado.

On December 12, Lara E. Baker of Foster Graham Milstein & Calisher, LLP will present a one-hour seminar, “When Your Client’s Kid Needs Help,” to discuss the pitfalls young students face in Colorado with attorneys who have routinely handled these kinds of matters. Learn how to guide these children to avoid mistakes that can have lifelong consequences.

  • Avoiding pitfalls in the juvenile justice system, focusing on the perils of social media
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Sex and the laws of consent
  • School disciplinary consequences
  • Law enforcement interaction with juveniles

This is a program no parent can afford to miss. And if you represent parents of teenagers, you should attend, too. Register by calling (303) 860-0608 or clicking the links below.

 

CLELogo

CLE Program: When Your Client’s Kid Needs Help

This CLE presentation will occur on December 12, 2016, at the CBA-CLE offices (1900 Grant Street, Third Floor), from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Register for the live program here or register for the webcast here. You may also call (303) 860-0608 to register.

Can’t make the live program? Order the homestudy here: MP3Video OnDemand.

Colorado Courts Celebrate National Adoption Day Throughout November

Each November, National Adoption Day is celebrated to recognize and raise awareness of the over 100,000 children in foster care awaiting permanent families. Since its inception, National Adoption Day has made the dreams of thousands of children come true through the cooperative work of courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies and advocates to finalize adoptions and find permanent, loving homes for children in foster care. In Colorado, the adoptions of 132 children will be finalized this month. Currently, 283 Colorado children await permanent families.

In 2006, for the first time, National Adoption Day was celebrated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This year, events will be held throughout the country to finalize the adoptions of more than 4,500 children in foster care, and to celebrate all families who adopt. Since 2000, more than 50,000 children have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day.

Throughout the state, courts will be celebrating Adoption Day this month. Some of the events are listed here:

  • First Judicial District (Jefferson and Gilpin counties): On Thursday, November 17, 2016, from 1 to 5 pm at the Jefferson County Courthouse, Magistrates Andrew Fitzgerald and Margaret Tims will preside over adoptions for 15 families. On Saturday, November 19, 2016, from 8:30 am to noon, Judges Margie Enquist, Gail Meinster and Tamara Russell, and Magistrate Jamin Alabiso will preside over 24 adoptions for 18 families. Cameras are welcome; contact Mallory Hyatt at (303) 271-4389 for more information.
  • Second Judicial District (Denver County): On Thursday, November 10, 2016, the Denver County Court held its National Adoption Day celebration. Forty-six children were united with 31 families. Contact Barbara Bosley, Family Court Facilitator, Denver Juvenile Court, (720) 337-0584 or (303) 638-5098 for more information.
  • Third Judicial District (Huerfano and Las Animas counties): On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, at 2 pm, Judge Leslie J. Gerbracht will preside over the adoptions of three children into two families. All families who have adopted children in the Third Judicial District are invited to attend, and cameras are welcome with the families’ permission. Contact Joanne A. Montero at (719) 497-8208 for more information.
  • Tenth Judicial District (Pueblo County): On Friday, November 18, 2016, District Court Judge David W. Crockenberg will preside over six adoptions. Expanded media coverage has been granted; contact Amanda Ledbetter at (719) 583-4716 for more information.
  • Twelfth Judicial District (Alamosa, Conejos, Castillo, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties): On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Twelfth Judicial District held a reception to honor the 27 children who were adopted into 18 families last year. Members of the public, the courts, Departments of Human Services, county attorneys, and county commissioners were in attendance. Chief Judge Pattie Swift addressed the group and discussed the important role of adoptive families in the justice system and thanked DHS staff and attorneys for the work that they do.
  • Seventeenth Judicial District (Adams and Broomfield counties): On Saturday, November 19, 2016, from 9 am to noon, nine children will be united with eight families. District Court Judges John Popovich and Jill-Ellyn Straus, as well as Magistrate Fran Simonet, will preside over the adoptions. Cameras will be allowed in the courtroom with the permission of the families. For more information, contact Simone Jones, Court Programs Coordinator, at (303) 654-3230.
  • Eighteenth Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln counties): On Friday, November 18, 2016, Adoption Day hearings will be held at both the Arapahoe County Courthouse and the Douglas County Courthouse. Judge Theresa Slade will preside over the adoptions of 13 children in Arapahoe County from 8:30 am to 4 pm. Magistrate Rebecca Moss will preside over eight adoptions in Douglas County from 2 to 4 pm. Cameras will be permitted in both courts with written permission of the families. For more information, contact Shaun Clark, Deputy District Administrator, at (303) 649-6382.
  • Twentieth Judicial District (Boulder County): On Friday, November 18, 2016, from 10:30 am to noon, Boulder County will host a celebration for all children adopted in Boulder County this past year. County Court Judge Elizabeth Brodsky and District Court Magistrate Monica Haenselman will be in attendance to celebrate with the families. There will be a reception, a short presentation, and crafts and games for the children. The celebration is open to the public; contact Erika Skufca at erika.skufca@judicial.state.co.us or (303) 441-4921 or Raina Lesser at raina.lesser@judicial.state.co.us or (303) 441-3744 for more information.
  • Twenty-first Judicial District (Mesa County): On Friday, November 18, 2016, from 9 am to 1 pm, District Court Judge Valerie Robison will preside over eight adoptions. An additional celebration will be held in the jury assembly room at 3 p.m. for all adopted on November 18 and in the past. Cameras will be allowed in the courtroom with permission of the families. For more information, contact Angeline Roles, Mesa County Department of Human Services, at (970) 248-2453 or angeline.roles@mesacounty.us.

For more information about Adoption Day events, click here.