April 19, 2019

Archives for February 12, 2014

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 2/11/14

On Tuesday, February 11, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and four unpublished opinions.

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes v. First Bank & Trust Company

United States v. Deppish

State of Nevada v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts

He v. Holder

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

SB 14-062: Allowing the Reinstatement of the Parent-Child Legal Relationship in Certain Cases

On Friday, January 10, 2014, Sen. Lucia Guzman introduced SB 14-062 – Concerning Reinstatement of the Parent-Child Legal Relationship. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

This bill creates a process for reinstatement of the parent-child legal relationship (reinstatement) in limited circumstances for a child whose parent’s rights have previously been terminated voluntarily or involuntarily. A county department of social services (county department) or the child’s guardian ad litem may file a petition for reinstatement alleging the following:

  • The child is 12 years of age or older or is younger than 12 years of age and is part of a sibling group including a child for whom reinstatement is being sought and who also meets the other conditions for reinstatement; Both the child and the former parent consent to the petition for reinstatement;
  • The child does not have a legal parent, is not in an adoptive placement, and is not likely to be adopted within a reasonable period of time, and other permanency options have been exhausted;
  • The child is in the custody of a county department;
  • The date of the final order terminating the parent-child legal relationship was at least 3 years before the filing of the petition or, if the court finds that it is in the best interests of the child to consider reinstatement of the parent-child legal relationship, less than three years from the final order of termination; and
  • The termination of the parent-child legal relationship was not based on findings of sexual abuse or on an incident of egregious abuse or neglect against a child, a near fatality, or a suspicious fatality or near fatality.

A child who is 16 years of age or older, or his or her guardian ad litem, may also file a petition for reinstatement of the parent-child legal relationship. The bill requires the county department or the guardian ad litem to contact the other party if a former parent contacts one of them about filing a petition for reinstatement. A former parent who is named in a petition for reinstatement is entitled to the appointment of legal counsel, if eligible, or may retain counsel at his or her expense.

The bill requires the court to hold an initial hearing to determine whether certain threshold conditions for pursuing reinstatement have been satisfied.

  • The former parent has remediated the problems that led to the termination of the parent-child legal relationship, if applicable; and
  • The former parent has participated in an assessment that supports that the reinstatement of the parent-child legal relationship is in the best interests of the child.

At the initial hearing on the petition, the court shall either dismiss the petition or enter an order finding that the threshold conditions for pursuing reinstatement have been met and that it is in the best interests of the child to work toward reinstatement of the parent-child legal relationship. If the court finds that working toward reinstatement is in the best interests of the child, then the court must approve a transition plan for reinstatement of the parent-child legal relationship, including visitation or placement of the child with the former parent for a designated trial period of up to six months while the child remains in the custody of the county department.

At the final hearing, the court must make certain findings and may either dismiss the petition, continue the matter for another hearing, or grant the petition and order the reinstatement of the parent-child legal relationship if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interests of the child.

The bill states the effect of reinstatement. The bill further states that granting the petition for reinstatement does not vacate or otherwise affect the validity of the original order terminating the parent-child legal relationship and that granting a petition for reinstatement for one former parent does not restore or otherwise impact the rights of the other former parent.

The bill states that this statutory process does not create a cause of action against the county department or its employees concerning the original order terminating the parent-child legal relationship. The bill also states that this statutory process should not be construed to limit or alter the protections of a governmental entity or its employees under the “Colorado Governmental Immunity Act.”

A county department, guardian ad litem, or other person filing a petition for reinstatement must file the petition in the county or city and county that has legal custody of the child.

On Jan. 27, the Judiciary Committee amended the bill and sent it to the Appropriations Committee. The Appropriations Committee approved the bill on Feb. 7 and sent it to the floor for consideration on 2nd Reading.

Since this summary, the bill passed the Senate on Second Reading, with amendments.

SB 14-064: Disallowing the Use of Long-Term Isolated Confinement for Seriously Mentally Ill Prisoners

On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, Sen. Jessie Ulibarri introduced SB 14-064 – Concerning Restricting the Use of Long-Term Isolated Confinement for Inmates with Serious Mental Illness. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill requires the department of corrections to review the status of all offenders held in long-term isolated confinement within 90 days after the effective date of the bill. If the review determines that the offender is seriously mentally ill, the department shall move the offender from long-term isolated confinement to a mental health step-down unit, prison mental hospital, or other appropriate housing that does not include long-term isolated confinement. The department may not place a seriously mentally ill offender in long-term isolated confinement and must do a mental health evaluation prior to placing an inmate in long-term isolated confinement prior to placement to determine whether the placement is allowed.

The bill dictates the type and manner that discipline is applied to seriously mentally ill inmates. The bill provides seriously mentally ill inmates with the opportunity for therapy and out-of-cell time.

The bill is assigned to the Judiciary Committee.

SB 14-075: Exempting Deployed Armed Service Members from Paying Motor Vehicle Registration Fees

On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, Sen. Randy Baumgartner introduced SB 14-075 – Concerning the Registration of Motor Vehicles for Members of the United States Armed Forces Who are Deployed Outside the United States. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The act exempts a member of the United States armed forces from paying the basic motor vehicle registration fees and authorizes payment of an alternate specific ownership tax of $1 if the person is deployed outside the United States for a full year. The vehicle may not be driven during this time. If the person is not deployed for a whole year, the basic fees and taxes are prorated. If the person has already paid the fees at the time of deployment, the department credits the fees towards succeeding years.

On Feb. 4, the Transportation Committee amended the bill and sent it to the Finance Committee.

Since this summary, the Finance Committee referred the bill, amended, to the Appropriations Committee.

SB 14-084: Allowing Modification of Method of Electing County Commissioners in Certain Counties

On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, Sen. Ellen Roberts introduced SB 14-084 – Concerning the Election of a County Commissioner in a County with a Population of Less than Seventy-Thousand by the Voters Residing in the District from which the Commissioner Runs for Election. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

In a county with a population of less than 70,000, the board of county commissioners currently consists of three members from three separate districts, with one commissioner elected from each district by the voters of the whole county.

The bill allows the voters of a county to change the method of election so that a commissioner is elected only by voters residing in the district from which the commissioner runs for election.

The change can be made either by the board of county commissioners referring a question to the voters or by the qualified electors filing a petition to have the question placed on the ballot. Terms of current commissioners are not affected and the change only affects newly elected commissioners.

The bill cleared the Senate on Feb. 3 and has been assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee in the House.