June 16, 2019

Archives for September 28, 2010

Colorado Supreme Court: Interrogation of Medically Confined Defendant Violated Due Process

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Effland v. People on September 27, 2010.

Due Process—Miranda Custody Requirements—Suppression of Involuntary Statements—Prosecutorial Misconduct.

Defendant was interrogated by police while in a hospital bed after a failed suicide pact that resulted in the death of his wife and one of his daughters. A uniformed police officer guarded defendant’s room while two investigating officers, sitting close to defendant and between him and the closed door, interrogated him. Defendant was confined for medical reasons, and the police told him that he was not in custody. Defendant repeatedly said he wished to speak to an attorney before speaking to the officers. After consulting with the district attorney, the officers told defendant he was not entitled to an attorney and continued questioning him by eliciting short answers. Under these circumstances, the Supreme Court determined defendant was in custody at the time he was interrogated and that his statements were involuntary under the due process clauses of the U.S. and Colorado Constitutions and therefore should be suppressed. Accordingly, the Court reversed the ruling by the court of appeals that he was in custody for Miranda purposes.

The Court declined to suppress defendant’s statements on the ground that the district attorney, who told the officers that defendant was not entitled to an attorney, committed prosecutorial misconduct. Because the district attorney merely explained his opinion on an undecided question of law, no outrageous government conduct occurred. The court of appeals’ judgment was affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Award of Costs to Non-Governmental Entity Under C.R.C.P. 54(d) Not Unconstitutional

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Concerning the Application for Water Rights of the City and County of Broomfield: City and County of Broomfield v. Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Co. on September 27, 2010.

Exemption From Litigation Costs Under C.R.C.P. 54(d).

The Supreme Court affirmed the water court’s award of costs against Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company, holding that mutual ditch companies are not subdivisions of the state and therefore are not exempt from the award of costs under C.R.C.P. 54(d). The Court also held that (1) Rule 54(d) does not violate the due process or equal protection guarantees contained in the U.S. and Colorado Constitutions; (2) the award of costs against a non-governmental entity neither infringes on a fundamental constitutional right nor implicates a suspect class; and (3) Rule 54(d)’s provision exempting the government from costs in litigation is rationally related to the goal of protecting the public treasury and thus constitutional.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court Adopts Proposed Changes to C.R.C.P. 16, 47

The Colorado Supreme Court this month adopted two proposed changes to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (C.R.C.P.) that were submitted to the court for consideration earlier this year.

The amendment to C.R.C.P. 16, “Case Management and Trial Management,” adds language to the Rules that in jury trials, “the parties shall confer regarding the amount of time requested for juror examination and provide their positions along with their reasons therefore.”

The amendment to C.R.C.P. 47, “Jurors,” adds language explaining the circumstances under which a party may request additional time for juror examination.

The court approved the amendments, en banc, on September 16, and became effective immediately.

Tenth Circuit: Opinions, 9/27/10

The Tenth Circuit on Monday issued one published opinion and two unpublished opinions.


In Flores v. Monumental Life Ins. Co., the Court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for Petitioner’s bad-faith and negligence per se claims, but reversed and remanded the district court’s grant of summary judgment for Petitioner’s breach of contract claims. Petitioner had accidental death insurance that provided compensation should death occur as the result of an injury caused by an accident; benefits were denied under the policy as death was found to be caused by sickness, rather than directly by an earlier fall. However, because Petitioner may be entitled to benefits due under the insurance policy, summary judgment was inappropriate.


Mauchlin v. Bier

United States v. Williams

Quality Assurance and Oversight of CFIs and PCs in Domestic Relations Cases – Feedback Requested

In January 2010, Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey charged the Supreme Court Standing Committee on Family Issues (“Family Issues Committee”) to study the quality assurance and oversight of Child and Family Investigators (CFIs) and Parenting Coordinators (PCs) in domestic relations cases. The Family Issues Committee has preliminarily identified that changes to the current Chief Justice Directives and statutes will likely be required to achieve system improvement.

It welcomes your feedback and also asks that you send this to your colleagues as appropriate. You will want to review the Interim Report and White Paper regarding Appointments of Parenting Coordinators before submitting the Online Comment Form by 9/30/2010. To maximize our ability to consider all comments, comments are limited to 200 words per recommendation.

The documents and comment form are also available on the web page for the Supreme Court Standing Committee on Family Issues.