June 14, 2019

Archives for April 18, 2012

e-Legislative Report: Week Fourteen, April 16, 2012

In this week’s Legislative Video Update, Michael Valdez talks about the budget bill that recently passed through the House and why the “Sunshine in Litigation Act” was laid to rest. Also in this episode, the Senate Judiciary Committee granted preliminary approval of appointments to the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline – find out who!

From the CBA Legislative Policy Committee

The Legislative Policy Committee did not meet on Friday, April 13.

From the Capitol

The Budget took center stage at the Capitol for the week of April 9. The House approved the slightly-amended, almost $20 Billion budget on an unprecedented vote of 64-1. The previous high marks for support for the budget bill in the House lingered around 52-13 so this was an unusual vote – there had to have been a temptation to check the electronic voting machine that the House utilizes on 3rd Reading to make sure that it hadn’t been tampered with by the members of the Joint Budget Committee.

At the halfway point in the budget process, it looks very promising for the Judicial Branch; the budget priorities for the Branch have been approved by the House. Those priorities include:

  • The remaining two judges from the 2007 judge bill;
  • Additional staff to oversee protective proceedings in the probate courts,
  • Pro se or self-represented case managers,
  • Additional probation officers to monitor sex offenders,
  • Modest pay increases for the lowest paid court clerks,
  • And more.

The Senate will take their turn with the budget bill starting on Monday when the Joint Budget Committee briefs committees of reference in 45 minute round-robin sessions. Both parties are expected to caucus on the Long Bill on Tuesday and the bill will “run” on 2nds on Wednesday. The final vote in the Senate is expected on Thursday.

Now everyone who follows the budget expects the Senate version of the bill to differ from the adopted House version – it always does. When that happens a conference committee – which is comprised of the folks who put the bill together – will be asked to work out the differences between the two versions. The Budget Bill should complete its legislative journey by the end of next week. We’ll bring you an update.

In other news:

At the request of the sponsor, the Judiciary Committee put SB 12-153 – Concerning the creation of the “Sunshine in Litigation Act” to rest on Monday, April 9 without testimony or argument. The sponsor told the Judiciary Committee that the fiscal impact of the bill was such that he could not move the bill forward.

The bill would have created a rebuttable presumption that information concerning a public hazard must be disclosed in a court action. If a party objected to the disclosure they could seek a protective order to limit disclosure if the court were to find, by clear and convincing evidence, that certain factors had been met. In any event the bill has been pulled and those folks who have been following the bill are now in sadness or are celebrating.

On Wednesday of last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave preliminary approval of appointments to the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline:

For a term expiring on June 30, 2015

  • Albus Brooks of Denver, Colorado, to serve as a non attorney, appointed.
  • David Kenney of Denver, Colorado, to serve as a non attorney, reappointed.
  • Federico C. Alvarez of Denver, Colorado, to serve as an attorney, reappointed.

For a term effective October 14, 2011 and set to expire June 30, 2015:

  • David Lee Dill of Pueblo, Colorado, to serve as a non attorney.

The full Senate is expected to confirm these nominations when their confirmation is heard on the Senate floor.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee defeated HB 12-1130 – Concerning offenses against an unborn child. The bill had been held for 10 days to allow the sponsor the opportunity to find language that a majority of the members of the Judiciary Committee could live with. The sponsor was unable to come up with language to satisfy a majority of the Committee so the bill was voted down by the committee on a 5-2 vote. The CBA LPC voted to oppose the legislation at the request of the Civil Rights Committee.

Colorado Supreme Court: No Collateral Estoppel; Entitlement to Water Not Actually Determined in Prior Litigation

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Reynolds v. Cotten, Division Engineer, Water Division 3 on April 16, 2012.

Collateral Estoppel—Water Law.

Plaintiffs, ditch owners who were diverting water from La Jara Creek, appealed to the Supreme Court from an order of the water court denying their claim for declaratory relief. Plaintiffs sought a declaration that their appropriative rights to La Jara Creek water were not limited to water flowing into the creek from the San Luis Valley Drain Ditch. Without directly addressing the merits of their claim, the water court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants on the ground that substantially the same issue had been litigated and decided against plaintiffs in a prior declaratory judgment action involving the same parties or their predecessors in interest. Specifically, the water court concluded that all of the water rights of the parties in La Jara Creek were not only at issue but were in fact finally determined in the prior litigation, and therefore plaintiffs’ current claim of entitlement to non-drain native La Jara Creek water had been implicitly resolved against them in the judgment concluding that litigation.

The Court found that plaintiffs’ entitlement to non-drain native La Jara Creek water was not actually determined in the prior litigation, either expressly or by necessary implication. It therefore reversed the summary judgment of the water court and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Proposed Ballot Initiative Contains Single Subject and Thus Complies with Colorado Constitution and Statutes

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title, and Submission Clause for 2011–2012 #45: Kemper v. Hamilton on April 16, 2012.

Ballot and Election—Single Subject—Clear Title.

The Supreme Court affirmed the Title Board’s determination that proposed initiative 2011–2012 #45 contains a single subject—“public control of waters.” The initiative thus complies with the Colorado Constitution and with CRS § 1-40-106.5. In addition, the initiative’s title, ballot title, and submission clause clearly and fairly express the single subject of the initiative, and therefore comply with the Colorado Constitution and with CRS § 1-40-106.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Proposed Ballot Initiative Contains Single Subject and Thus Complies with Colorado Constitution and Statutes

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title, and Submission Clause for 2011–2012 #3: Kemper v. Hamilton on April 16, 2012.

Ballot and Election—Single Subject—Clear Title.

The Supreme Court affirmed the Title Board’s determination that proposed initiative 2011–2012 #3 contains a single subject—“the public’s rights in the waters of natural streams.” The initiative thus complies with the Colorado Constitution and with CRS § 1-40-106.5. In addition, the initiative’s title, ballot title, and submission clause clearly and fairly express the single subject of the initiative, and therefore comply with the Colorado Constitution and with CRS § 1-40-106.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Statute of Limitations for Recovery of Debt Repayable in Installments Is Triggered at Date the Debt Was Due, Not Date Debt Became Liquidated or Determinable

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Hassler v. Account Brokers of Larimer County, Inc. on April 16, 2012.

Secured Transactions—Statute of Limitations—Optional Acceleration Clause.

The Supreme Court held that the claim in this action was barred by the six-year statute of limitations. The Court found that, to determine when the statute of limitations is triggered for the recovery of a debt repayable in installments, the determining factor is not the date the debt became liquidated or determinable, but rather the date the debt was due. Here, the debt became due when plaintiff’s predecessor-in-interest unequivocally manifested its intent to invoke its optional acceleration provision by repossessing the collateral and demanding full payment from the debtor before the collateral could be redeemed. Because this acceleration occurred more than six years before the initiation of this action, the claim was barred by the statute of limitations. The district court’s judgment was reversed.

Summary and full case available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 4/17/12

On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and three unpublished opinions.

Unpublished

United States v. Lucas

United States v. Mach

United States v. Granados

No case summaries are provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Regulation Counsel Says Law Students Need More Exposure to Professionalism

This post originally appeared on the Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers blog. Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers is an initiative of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) that leverages the Carnegie Model and the work of law schools and professors committed to legal education reform to align legal education with the needs of an evolving profession by providing a supported platform for shared learning, experimentation, ongoing measurement and collective implementation.

We recently sat down to talk with John Gleason. As Regulation Counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court, he directs the office of the Court responsible for lawyer admissions, registration, regulation, and client protection. In 2010, Gleason was appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court to investigate and prosecute Andrew Thomas, the former Maricopa County Attorney—a prosecution that last week ended in the disbarment of Thomas and one of his lieutenants, and the suspension of another attorney in Thomas’ office.

Gleason often meets lawyers when they are at their most vulnerable—under investigation for misconduct—and he believes new lawyers need more guidance on professional issues. Recent graduates, he says, are often referred to his office for minor misconduct issues. “There are an enormous number of issues that are not covered in law school. In fact, probably most issues related to professionalism are not covered in law school.”

Hear more from John Gleason below or click here to view the rest of his interview.

Alli Gerkman is Online Content Manager for IAALS, where she manages, edits, and creates content for IAALS and Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers.