August 23, 2019

Archives for June 4, 2014

Enlightenment Made Simple (Part Three): Why Ego Has To Go

rhodesEgo is why we believe what we believe and act the way we act. Ego is in charge of deciding what’s normal and possible, and one thing it knows for sure is that the kind of enlightenment we’re talking about in this series is neither.

Ego sounds authoritative, but feels a lot less so when you realize that, on a cellular level, it’s the aggregate of our brains’ most commonly used neural pathways. As we saw last time, if our brains can conceive of the idea of a life and a career filled with happiness and fulfillment, they’re ready to give it to us. Neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to rewire itself – can actually trump ego, and make impossible things happen.

That’s a hopeful thought, but it doesn’t make it easy to let go of ego. Ego got the corner office because of its track record. It kept us safe when we were kids, navigated us through adolescence, made sure we got things done when we grew up. No problem with any of that, but that’s actually the point.

Ego is our life regulator. As long as it stays in charge, it’s business as usual. If we’re not experiencing life the way we want, that’s because our ego structures aren’t buying into the idea. And guess what: they never will. Ego is a one-trick pony; it won’t and can’t learn; all it can do is execute its ideal of how things are and ought to be. If we want something new, we need new neural pathways to replace the ones currently in charge. The corner office needs a new tenant.

I’ve used this quote from Einstein before, but it’s so good, why not do it again:

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

He might have substituted “the same ego” for “the same kind of thinking.” Ego is embedded in our life experiences (including the one we’re having right at this moment, reading this). Want more of the same? Let ego keep its job. Want change – not little change, but BIG change? Then it’s time for the severance package.

We’d like ego to keep its job because we’re used to it and think it can change. Not gonna happen: the list of ego features that need to change is just too overwhelming.

  • Our intellect – particularly the different kinds of intelligence we do or don’t use;
  • Our approach to relationships at work and home;
  • The beliefs we hold about how life works, what’s important and what’s not, etc.;
  • Our sense of identity and meaning and purpose;
  • Our learning style;
  • Our decision-making style;
  • Our likes and dislikes, areas of knowledge and ignorance, competence and incompetence.
  • Etc. etc. etc.

When our quest for enlightenment runs into resistance, we blame ourselves, blame life, blame Fate, blame the gods…. Better to simply acknowledge that the brain wiring that supports ego is just humming along the way it always has. We can stay stuck in ego, or we can go ahead without it, but one thing we can’t do is teach it new tricks.

We’ll talk more about that next time.

Kevin Rhodes has been a lawyer for nearly 30 years, in firms large and small, and in solo practice. He has also been in and out of the practice more times than anyone can count, and his reflections on that topic will appear in an upcoming article in The Colorado Lawyer. He also plans to publish a book on that topic later this year. He’s a certified mentor with the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program, offers career and performance coaching, and leads workshops for a variety of audiences, including University of Denver Law School, the CBA’s Solo and Small Firm Section, and the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. You can email Kevin at kevin@rhodeslaw.com.

Craig Dehning of Skinner Middle School and Theresa Storto of Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy Awarded DBA Education in the Legal System Award

This is Part 2 of a series of posts about the DBA Award winners (for Part 1, click here; for Part 2, click here; for Part 3, click here; for Part 4, click here). The article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of The Docket.

EDUCATION IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM AWARD WINNER:
CRAIG DEHNING, SKINNER MIDDLE SCHOOL

“It’s critically important that we teach civics in 8th grade because they’re not necessarily getting it later. It’s the foundation of law.”

Craig Dehning, an 8th grade U.S. History teacher at Skinner Middle School, is serious when it comes to shaping the future generation. He explains that for many, the last year of middle school is the only time kids will learn about the Constitution in Denver Public Schools. There is an elective civics class in high school, but it isn’t mandatory. And, the high school where many of his kids continue on has a shockingly high drop-out rate. So, he takes every chance he can get to impact their education.

“It’s so important for the kids to have some idea about the beginning of our country, the creation of the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—among others,” Dehning says.

Although he was almost a lawyer, Dehning has clearly found his knack in teaching. His voice fills with enthusiasm when describing the value of showing kids how success feels. His favorite part of teaching is seeing the learning curve—how those kids take that knowledge and become confident. Dehning encourages his students to always ask questions, explaining: “Learning comes from questioning.”

Praising the “We the People” program, Dehning says that it’s a really great way for kids to dive into the Constitution and learn more about legal topics, such as the structure of our government and the Fifth Amendment. He hopes that more schools will become involved in it in the future.

“We need to make sure the foundation of our government and society is taught to kids,” Dehning says.

EDUCATION IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM AWARD WINNER:
THERESA STORTO, KUNSMILLER CREATIVE ARTS ACADEMY

Typically, growing up means learning from your mistakes.

That same idea is often applied—in a more general sense—to education. The more students learn about the past, the better they can shape the future. Eighth-grade social studies teacher Theresa Storto believes this is a critical aspect of her history curriculum. She teaches the students at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy that to improve the future, you have to understand the past.

An important part of Storto’s social studies teaching plan is the “We the People” program. She encourages her students to participate in Mock Congressional Hearings each year, where they become experts in parts of the Constitution.

“They’re the future and they need to know the Constitution to understand that they do have power,” Storto explains, “so that they can make the changes they feel are necessary for a better world.”

Along with the legal knowledge, students also gain confidence in their expertise and abilities throughout the program. Storto says that showing kids how they can make a difference is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher. She strives to always provide them with inspiration and hope for the future—and the courage to believe in who they are and what they can do.

Tenth Circuit: No First Amendment Violation for Non-Mandatory Attendance Order

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Fields v. City of Tulsa on Thursday, May 22, 2014.

Paul Fields was a captain in the Tulsa, Oklahoma police department (TPD). At the time of the events in question, Captain Fields commanded 26 officers and five supervisors. The chain of command above him was Major Julie Harris, Deputy Chief Webster, and Chief Jordan. After the FBI reported a threat against Tulsa’s Islamic Society, TPD provided protection for the mosque and the school next door. The Society decided to host a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day” on March 4, 2011, to thank law enforcement for its protection during the threat, and distributed a flyer offering refreshments, mosque tours, and presentations about Islam upon request. The event was not mandatory but RSVPs were requested. When there were no RSVPs by February 17, Major Harris forwarded an email from Webster ordering each shift to send two officers and a supervisor or commander to the event.

Fields responded with an email to his lawyer, Webster, Harris, Jordan, and several of his subordinates, indicating that he would not follow the directive to attend the event and that he felt the requirement to attend the Society event violated his civil rights. Webster responded the following day, noting that the Islamic Society was going to great pains to host the event, Fields was not himself required to attend because he could order his subordinates to attend, and if he continued with his refusal, Fields would be subject to discipline. Fields responded that he had conferred with his counsel and would not attend. He also refused to order subordinates to attend. He was then served with discipline papers transferring him to another division and stating that he would be investigated by TPD Internal Affairs.

Fields filed a complaint, naming Webster as the only defendant, but subsequently amended it to include the City of Tulsa and Chief Jordan. Fields alleged violations of his First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, the Establishment Clause, his right to free association, and the Equal Protection Clause. Fields sought damages, a declaration that his rights had been violated, an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the policies that led to his punishment, and the expungement from his personnel file of all references to the incident. After some litigation, the district court granted summary judgment for defendants, and Fields appealed to the Tenth Circuit.

First, the Tenth Circuit evaluated Fields’ claim that defendants violated his right to free exercise of religion because of the attendance order. However, Fields was not personally required to attend the Society program — he could have ordered a subordinate to attend in his place — therefore his rights were not violated. Because the attendance order did not violate Fields’ right to free exercise of religion, he was rightly subjected to punishment for his refusal to comply with the attendance order: “An invalid religious objection to an order that does not burden your free exercise of religion does not immunize you from punishment for violation of the order.”

Next, the Tenth Circuit evaluated Fields’ Establishment Clause argument. Fields claimed that the attendance order constituted an official endorsement of Islam by TPD. But the Tenth Circuit responded that Fields’ interpretation was unreasonable given the history, purpose, and context of the order. The Tenth Circuit then analyzed Fields’ free association violation claims, and rejected them because the attendance order did not require Fields to associate with the Islamic Society; he was not required to attend at all. The Tenth Circuit likewise rejected Fields’ claim of violation of the Equal Protection Clause, noting that Fields raised essentially the same arguments for his free exercise claim.

The judgment of the district court was affirmed on all counts.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 6/5/2014

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and six unpublished opinions.

Wigley v. County of Bernalillo

Butts v. McCollum

Malipurathu v. Jones

Toevs v. Milyard

Hackford v. State of Utah

Rios Gonsalez v. Holder

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

Bankruptcy Plan Modification by Debtor’s Counsel – Part of Bankruptcy Update 2014

In any three- to five-year period, many of us face unanticipated financial obstacles – medical expenses, educational expenses, dependent expenses. For a bankruptcy debtor, these unexpected financial burdens can derail a payment plan. Thankfully, the Bankruptcy Code at 11 U.S.C. § 1329 allows post-confirmation plan modifications so that debtors can adapt to changing life circumstances.

Section 1329 permits a debtor, trustee, or holder of an unsecured loan to request modification to increase or reduce payments to a particular class; prolong or shorten the time for those payments; alter the amount of distribution to a creditor in order to account for another payment not covered by the plan; or reduce payments in order to cover health insurance expenses for the debtor.

Experienced bankruptcy attorney Andrew S. Trexler offers some of the common scenarios in which his clients have requested post-confirmation plan modification:

  • To remove unpaid mortgage arrears following a mortgage loan modification and reduce plan length;
  • To bring payments current and reduce payments to account for change in projected disposable income, such as from retirement;
  • To allow for debtor to transition from one job or business to another through temporary reduction in monthly payment and provide for post-petition mortgage and HOA arrears;
  • To provide for pre-petition priority support arrears and cram down secured debt;
  • To surrender property securing Class 2 or 3 debts (Note: this is explicitly allowed by Judge Tallman so long as in good faith but disallowed by Judge Campbell);
  • Generally, to accommodate any significant decrease in disposable income caused by reduction in hours, job loss, increase in taxes due to end of payroll tax holiday in 2013 or increased medical bills, insurance costs, lawsuit defense, etc.; or
  • To allow for the purchase of health insurance (now generally required by the Affordable Care Act), so long as the debtor complies with § 1329(a)(4).

Trexler also provides the sample modification request motions and projected plans for several of these scenarios. He will present on this topic at Friday’s CLE program – Bankruptcy Update 2014 – along with several bankruptcy court judges and other area bankruptcy attorneys. Click the links below to register or call (303) 860-0608.

CLE Program: Bankruptcy Update 2014

This CLE presentation will take place on June 6, 2014. Click here to register for the live program and click here to register for the webcast. You can also register by phone at (303) 860-0608.

Can’t make the live program? Order the homestudy here — CD homestudy • MP3 audio downloadVideo OnDemand

Ilene Lin Bloom Receives DBA Volunteer of the Year Award

IleneLinBloom

This is Part 4 of a series of posts about the DBA Award winners (for Part 1, click here; for Part 2, click here; for Part 3, click here). The article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of The Docket.

“I hope we can reach a point where volunteering is just a part of a lawyer’s practice, and not out of the ordinary.”

Ilene Lin Bloom is very grateful to be honored as the Denver Bar Association’s Volunteer of the Year, and she’s also hopeful that in the future a greater number of attorneys will take on volunteer projects. She wants to inspire other lawyers to integrate volunteering and pro bono into their practice and everyday legal lives.

Bloom refutes the excuse “I don’t have enough time.” As an attorney, volunteer, wife, mother and former DBA President, she does it all. In fact, during her 2011–12 presidency, Bloom worked to increase pro bono education within the community, and strove to help lawyers find room for volunteering on their list of priorities.

An enthusiastic activist, Bloom attended school knowing she wanted to help children through the law. She went through a first-of-its-kind Child Law program at Loyola Law School in Chicago, and trained to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children.

Since moving to Denver, Bloom has been consistently involved in the DBA. She chaired the DBA Legal Services Committee for seven years and served on the Access to Justice Commission, testifying as a commissioner in state hearings. She helps administer Legal Nights at El Centro, and recently increased her community involvement by chairing a silent auction for the local charity WeeCycle.

Bloom is the current co-chair of the Fit to Practice Task Force as well, channeling her energy into promoting a healthy lifestyle for the local legal community and making the DBA more relevant to its members.

“It’s very important for lawyers to be physically fit,” Bloom explains. “It helps them be mentally fit and it helps their happiness levels and their ability to step away from the practice of law and create a work–life balance.”

Finding a healthy life balance is vital for all professionals —and lawyers are no exception. Bloom notes that the happiest lawyers she’s met are those who are able to manage their professional aspirations, their health and their family as best as possible. In other words, follow Bloom’s impressive example.

Probate, Domestic Relations, Juvenile Law, Workers’ Comp Bills, and More Signed by Governor

Governor Hickenlooper continues to sign legislation, and has signed 54 bills in the last week. To date, he has signed 317 bills and vetoed two bills. Some of these are summarized here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • SB 14-005 – Concerning Alternative Administrative Remedies for the Processing of Certain Wage Claims, and, in Connection Therewith, Amending the Provisions for Written Notices of a Wage Claim, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Sen. Jessie Ulibarri and Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill authorizes the Division of Labor to develop an administrative process to handle wage claim cases.
  • SB 14-190 – Concerning Criminal Discovery, and, in Connection Therewith, Creating a Statewide Discovery Sharing System, a Criminal Discovery Surcharge, Civil Immunity for District Attorneys that Make a Good-Faith Effort to Redact Information from Discovery Documents, and Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Cheri Gerou. The bill implements the recommendations of the Discovery Task Force regarding creating and maintaining a statewide eDiscovery system.
  • SB 14-201 – Concerning Reestablishing a Child Protection Ombudsman Advisory Work Group to Develop a Plan for Accountable Autonomy for the Child Protection Ombudsman Program, by Sen. Linda Newell and Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill creates a new advisory work group to evaluate the Office of Child Protection Ombudsman Program and recommend ways to improve efficiency.
  • SB 14-203 – Concerning the Office of the Respondent Parents’ Counsel in Cases of Alleged Child Abuse or Neglect, by Sens. Kent Lambert & Linda Newell and Reps. Jenise May & Bob Gardner. The bill creates the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel in the Judicial Department in order to provide legal representation to low income respondent parents in dependency and neglect cases.
  • HB 14-1273 – Concerning Human Trafficking, and, In Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Reps. Beth McCann & Jared Wright and Sens. Linda Newell & Gail Schwartz. The bill amends several statutory provisions concerning human trafficking.

Friday, May 30, 2014

  • HB 14-1080 – Concerning a Sales and Use Tax Exemption for the Colorado Ute Indians, by Reps. Mike McLachlan & Don Coram and Sen. Ellen Roberts. The bill clarifies that sales tax doesn’t apply to purchases made on reservations.
  • HB 14-1119 – Concerning an Income Tax Credit for the Donation of Food to a Hunger-Relief Charitable Organization, by Rep. Mike McLachlan and Sens. Mary Hodge & Ellen Roberts. The bill creates an income tax credit for individual and corporate taxpayers who donate food to hunger-relief charitable organizations.
  • HB 14-1222 – Concerning Modification of the Terms Under Which a County May Issue Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bonds on Behalf of an Eligible Applicant for the Purpose of Financing a Geothermal Energy Project on the Applicant’s Property, by Rep. Mike McLachlan and Sens. Gail Schwartz & Ellen Roberts. The bill changes several provisions regarding private activity bonds issued by counties.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

  • HB 14-1030 – Concerning the Establishment of Incentives for the Development of Hydroelectric Energy Systems, by Reps. Don Coram & Diane Mitsch-Bush and Sens. Gail Schwartz & Ellen Roberts. The bill facilitates the development of hydroelectric energy systems by the State Electrical Board and the Department of Regulatory Agencies.
  • HB 14-1275 – Concerning Authorization for the Parks and Wildlife Commission to Purchase Real Property to Build a Multi-Use Shooting Facility, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Don Coram and Sens. Cheri Jahn & Ellen Roberts. The bill allows the Parks and Wildlife Commission to purchase certain real estate in Mesa County to build a multi-use shooting facility.
  • HB 14-1303 – Concerning the Receipt of Public Testimony from Remote Locations Around the State by Legislative Committees, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Reps. Ray Scott & Mark Ferrandino and Sen. Gail Schwartz. The bill allows the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council to establish policies to allow remote testimony from more than one location in Colorado.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

  • HB 14-1278 – Concerning Continuation of the Workers’ Compensation Accreditation Program Administered by the Division of Workers’ Compensation, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the 2013 Sunset Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies, by Rep. Paul Rosenthal and Sen. Lois Tochtrop. The bill continues the Workers’ Comp Accreditation Program and requires the DWC to conduct a study on the potential impact on the state of adopting the current version of the AMA Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.
  • HB 14-1323 – Concerning Restrictions on the Ability of a Government Entity to Access an Individual’s Personal Medical Information, by Rep. Dianne Primavera and Sens. Kevin Lundberg & John Kefalas. The bill places restrictions on the Department of Revenue’s use of personal medical information, and requires the DOR to receive an individual’s permission before accessing personal medical information.
  • HB 14-1322 – Concerning the Colorado Probate Code, by Rep. Mike McLachlan and Sen. Ellen Roberts. The bill makes several changes to the Colorado Probate Code provisions concerning control and distribution of estate assets.
  • HB 14-1363 – Concerning the Nonsubstantive Revision of Statutes in the Colorado Revised Statutes, as Amended, and, in Connection Therewith, Amending or Repealing Obsolete, Imperfect, and Inoperative Law to Preserve the Legislative Intent, Effect, and Meaning of the Law, by Rep. Bob Gardner and Sen. Ellen Roberts. This bill, the Revisor’s Bill, makes several nonsubstantive changes to the Colorado Revised Statutes in order to repeal or amend obsolete or unclear provisions of the law.
  • HB 14-1379 – Concerning Clarifying the Application of the Spousal Maintenance Statutes, by Rep. Beth McCann and Sen. Andy Kerr. The bill clarifies the applicability of prior spousal maintenance statutes in cases filed prior to January 1, 2014.
  • SB 14-184 – Concerning Oversight of the Industrial Hemp Program, by Sen. Gail Schwartz and Rep. Don Coram. The bill modifies existing statutes related to the industrial hemp program and creates an industrial hemp research grant program.
  • SB 14-191 – Concerning the Procedures for Resolution of Workers’ Compensation Claims, by Sen. Lois Tochtrop and Rep. Dan Pabon. The bill makes several changes to provisions regarding the resolution of workers’ compensation claims.
  • SB 14-206 – Concerning Criminal Record Sealing Provisions, and, in Connection Therewith, Relocating the Record Sealing Provisions in a New Part, Clarifying when an Arrest Record can be Sealed, and Making Other Clarifying Changes, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill reorganizes statutes regarding sealing of criminal records and relocates them to another section of statute.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

  • HB 14-1156 – Concerning Extending the Age of Eligibility for the Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Rep. Kevin Priola and Sen. Lois Tochtrop. The bill expands eligibility for the Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Program from kindergarten through 2nd Grade to kindergarten through 12th Grade.
  • HB 14-1301 – Concerning the Safe Routes to School Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Rep. Dianne Mitsch Bush and Sen. Andy Kerr. The bill appropriates funds to the CDOT in order to continue the Safe Routes to School program, which distributes funds to projects to improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists in school areas.

For a list of Governor Hickenlooper’s legislative decisions, click here.

Volunteers Needed for Clinic on Collecting Child Support

The DBA Access to Justice Committee will be providing a training for the presenters of the newly created “How to Collect Child Support” public clinic. This clinic is a great way to get involved with the Denver community, gather information, and teach basic techniques for collecting support. The child support collections training will be on June 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the CBA offices, 1900 Grant St., 9th floor. One CLE credit available. Contact Meghan Bush to register.

Chief Justice Directive 05-03 Regarding Court Reporting and Recording Services Amended

On Friday, May 30, 2014, the Colorado State Judicial Branch issued revised Chief Justice Directive 05-03, “Management Plan for Court Reporting and Recording Services.” The revisions update the Chief Justice Directive to reflect current administrative practices, revise certification requirements for reporters, and address grand jury responsibilities.

Appendix A of CJD 05-03 will be amended July 1, 2014, to reflect new rates for court reporting and recording services.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 6/3/2014

On Tuesday, June 3, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and four unpublished opinions.

Cleveland v. Havanek

United States v. Valenzuela-Borjas

Hinzo v. Williams

Harris v. Raemisch

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