April 25, 2019

Archives for December 17, 2013

Colorado High School Mock Trial Program Needs Volunteers!

The CBA Litigation Section generously sponsors the Colorado High School Mock Trial Program. Each year over 100 Colorado High Schools participate. The program is an excellent opportunity to be involved in a rewarding and fun learning experience for our young people. This can only happen with hundreds of attorney, judicial, paralegal, and community volunteers assisting.

Volunteers are needed to act as presiding judges, scoring panelists, and courtroom monitors. Generally, volunteer shifts are approximately three to four hours, and breakfast or lunch is provided. Please consider being a part of this incredible educational experience for the high school students of our state by volunteering in one or more of the following capacities.

Presiding Judge: During the competition the presiding judge acts as the voice of the panel, controls the conduct of the courtroom and trial participants, and supervises the time constraints imposed by the rules of competition. The presiding judge rules on motions and objections based on the rules of evidence. The presiding judge does not announce a verdict on the legal merits of the case, but in all other respects conducts the trial as if it were a real trial. We prefer that mock trial presiding judges be real judges or attorneys that have high school mock trial experience.

Scoring Panelist: The scoring panels are comprised of three attorneys, paralegals, or community members. The score is based on presentation and NOT on the legal merits of the team’s case. However, substance of the presentation is important. A “performance rating” score sheet is completed.

Courtroom Monitor: The Courtroom Monitor’s role is to make sure there is no communication between participating students and those outside of the bar.  They also make sure there is no food or drink in the courtroom.  Overall, they make sure that everything is running smoothly during the trial.  If not, they report to the Mock Trial Sub-Committee.  This is a very important role for a smooth tournament overall.  A volunteer packet will be mailed prior to the event.  An orientation will be given to all volunteers before each round.

Denver Regional High School Mock Trial (click here for form)
Denver City & County Bldg
February 7 – 8, 2014

Colorado State High School Mock Trial Tournament (click here for form)
Jefferson Combined Courts
100 Jefferson County Parkway
Golden CO 80401
March 14 – 15, 2014

For more information, contact Carolyn Gravit at (303) 824-5323.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Secretary of State Lacked Authority to Promulgate Campaign Finance Rules

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Colorado Ethics Watch v. Gessler on Thursday, December 12, 2013.

Campaign and Political Finance Amendment—Fair Campaign Practices Act—Administrative Authority—Ambiguous.

Defendant, in his official capacity as Colorado Secretary of State (Secretary), appealed the district court’s judgment invalidating several of his campaign finance rules. Plaintiffs Colorado Ethics Watch and Colorado Common Cause (collectively, Ethics Watch) cross-appealed. The judgment was affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Although the district court respected the Secretary’s “pragmatism” in attempting to harmonize Colorado campaign finance laws with judicial decisions through his rulemaking, the court determined that the Secretary lacked the authority to do so. Its judgment invalidated a number of the Secretary’s new rules, including Rules 1.12, 1.18, 7.2, 1.10, and 18.1.8, because they contradicted the Campaign and Political Finance Amendment (Amendment) and the Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA). The district court upheld the validity of the new Rule 1.7, finding that it was sufficiently similar to the rule preceding it, thus entitling it to deference.

On appeal, the Secretary contended that the district court erred in invaliding the rules because they fill gaps in the Amendment and FCPA and the court should defer to his rulemaking authority. The Court of Appeals disagreed. Rule 1.12 is arbitrary, capricious, or manifestly contrary to CRS § 1-45-103(12)(b) because the definition of “major purpose” therein is ambiguous. Rule 1.18.2 is invalid because the provisions of Colo. Const. art. XXVIII, § 2(12)(a) are clear and unambiguous, there is no gap for the Secretary to fill, and the Secretary did not have the authority to add a “major purpose” requirement. Rules 7.2 and 1.10 are invalid because they contradict the clear and unambiguous language of CRS § 1-45-103(14.5). Rule 18.1.8 is invalid because it does not fill a gap and, therefore, is manifestly contrary to Colo. Const. art. XXVIII.

On cross-appeal, Ethics Watch contended that the district court erred in not invalidating Rule 1.7 because this rule contravenes the clear and unambiguous definition of “electioneering communication” found in Colo. Const. art. XXVIII, § 2(7)(a). The Court agreed. Rule 1.7 is invalid because the constitutional provisions are clear and unambiguous, leaving no gap for the Secretary to fill. Therefore, the Secretary exceeded his authority to “administer and enforce” the law. The judgment was affirmed as to Rules 1.12, 1.18, 7.2, 1.10, and 18.1.8, but reversed as to Rule 1.7.

Summary and full case available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/13/13

On Friday, December 13, 2013, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and two unpublished opinions.

Hayes v. Falk

United States v. Hughes

Case summaries are provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.