June 25, 2019

Archives for October 31, 2014

Patrick Flaherty Named New Executive Director of Colorado and Denver Bar Associations

Patrick Flaherty 1-14Patrick Flaherty has been named the new Executive Director of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations. He will officially begin on Jan. 1, when current Executive Director Chuck Turner steps down after 34 years.

“I’m honored to be inheriting Chuck Turner’s legacy, and I’m excited to help the Associations take on new challenges and continue to move forward,” Flaherty says.

Patrick Flaherty was most recently Director of Policy Advocacy Programs at the Gill Foundation, where he served for nine years. Prior to that, Flaherty was Executive Director of the nonprofit Project Angel Heart, which he grew from a fledgling organization to a highly impactful service organization. Under his leadership, it received the El Pomar Foundation’s Award for “Most Outstanding Nonprofit Organization in Colorado.”

Flaherty also has nine years of legal experience. He began his law career at Lewis Roca Rothgerber, rising from summer associate all the way to partner. He is a graduate of the University Of Denver Sturm College Of Law, where he received his JD in 1987.  Flaherty has a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University as well.

Bringing a blend of legal knowledge, nonprofit management, and advocacy experience to the bar associations, Flaherty is well suited to lead bar members, and more importantly, guide the legal community into the future.

Tenth Circuit: No Reasonable Jurist Could Have Found Trial Counsel’s Performance Deficient

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Rodriguez on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

Samuel Rodriguez pleaded guilty to the distribution of five grams or more of methamphetamine, and the district court sentenced him. The district court applied a career offender sentence enhancement based on Rodriguez’s two prior felony convictions involving crimes of violence or controlled substances. One of Rodriguez’s prior convictions was for simple assault under the Texas Penal Code. The parties disagree on whether the assault conviction constitutes a crime of violence. In an earlier appeal, Rodriguez’s attorney argued unsuccessfully that the conviction should not be considered a crime of violence. Rodriguez then sought collateral relief on a theory that his attorney had mishandled the issue. The district court recharacterized the request as a motion to vacate the sentence and denied it. Rodriguez then sought a Certificate of Appealability (COA), along with leave to amend his motion and a request to file in forma pauperis. The Tenth Circuit denied the COA and mooted the related requests.

The Tenth Circuit first noted that its prior ruling was the law of the case, and even if the current panel disagreed with the finding of the prior panel, it could not overturn that decision. Nevertheless, analyzing Rodriguez’s claim about the requisite mental state underlying his Texas assault offense, the Tenth Circuit found that the issue had been litigated in the prior ruling. The Tenth Circuit found that Rodriguez’s prior counsel advocated well for him, raising the claim that he did not have the requisite mental state, citing case law, and otherwise appropriately advocating, and declined to characterize Rodriguez’s appeal as anything other than an attempt to relitigate an already-decided issue.

The Tenth Circuit denied Rodriguez’s request for a COA and found moot his related requests to amend his motion and file in forma pauperis.

Tenth Circuit: The Government Has the Right to Regulate Its Own Property

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Jones on Friday, October 3, 2014.

Stanley Jones is a cattle rancher in Wyoming. His brother owns base properties close to two BLM public lands — the Sandstone and Cannady allotments. Mr. Jones frequently allows his cattle to graze on the BLM lands, despite lacking a permit to do so lawfully. After numerous administrative trespass notices and fines, the BLM brought criminal charges against Jones through the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wyoming for one count of unlawful use of public lands and two counts of allowing his livestock to graze on public lands without authorization. Mr. Jones pled not guilty to all charges and requested a jury trial. At trial, Mr. Jones was convicted on all counts and sentenced to two years probation on each count, to be served concurrently, a $3,000 fine, a $75 special assessment fee, all contingent on his compliance with certain terms and conditions. Pro se, Mr. Jones appealed his convictions.

Mr. Jones implored the Tenth Circuit to consider the true and honest facts, which the Tenth Circuit considered a sufficiency of the evidence challenge. The Tenth Circuit considered the evidence against Mr. Jones, including that he has never been a permittee for grazing on public lands, he was told numerous times that he was not allowed to graze his cattle on the lands, he was told to remove his property from public lands, and he was fined for failure to remove his property and cattle from the public lands. The Tenth Circuit found overwhelming evidence to support Mr. Jones’ convictions.

The Tenth Circuit next addressed Mr. Jones’ contention that the trial court should have allowed his proposed testimony that the government should comply with Wyoming’s fence-out laws. However, this testimony was not related to the issues at hand, and it would have confused the jury. The government has the right to regulate its own property. The trial court’s exclusion of the fence-out evidence was proper.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed Mr. Jones’ convictions.

 

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 10/30/2014

On Thursday, October 30, 2014, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and 37 unpublished opinions.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 10/30/2014

On Thursday, October 30, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and seven unpublished opinions.

Arraez Brandy v. Holder

Moffett v. Colvin

Taufu’i v. Holder

United States v. Palmer

Hutchins v. Cessna Aircraft Co.

Acosta v. Daniels

Gomez v. Lopez

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