August 25, 2019

Archives for November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from CLE in Colorado


Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at CLE in Colorado. In honor of the holidays, we will close at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25 and will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27, all day. You can still order homestudies and books or register for programs online on our website,

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Colorado Supreme Court: Complicitor Liability Not Limited to Crimes Containing Culpable Mental State

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Childress on Monday, November 23, 2015.

Complicity—Mental State Requirement of Complicitor Liability—Applicability of Complicitor Liability to Strict Liability Offenses.

The People petitioned for review of the court of appeals’ judgment vacating defendant’s conviction of vehicular assault while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although it was undisputed that defendant was not driving the vehicle in question, the jury was instructed that he could be found guilty as a complicitor. The court of appeals concluded that because vehicular assault while under the influence is designated a strict liability offense, it requires no culpable mental state on the part of the driver. It further found that the Supreme Court had previously held complicitor liability inapplicable to crimes lacking a culpable mental state requirement.

The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals. The Court reconsidered and clarified the reach and requirements of complicitor liability in this jurisdiction and determined that, as clarified, complicitor liability can extend to strict liability offenses. It remanded the matter to the court of appeals with directions to address any other of defendant’s assignments of error possibly impacting his conviction of vehicular assault.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: School Board’s Finding of Fact Must Be Warranted by Hearing Officer’s Findings

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Ritzert v. Board of Education of the Academy School District No. 20 on Monday, November 23, 2015.

Teacher Employment, Compensation, and Dismissal Act—Procedure for Dismissal—Insubordination.

In this case, the Supreme Court considered whether a school board’s decision to dismiss a non-probationary teacher for insubordination, despite a hearing officer’s recommendation that the teacher be retained, was arbitrary, capricious, or legally impermissible under the Teacher Employment, Compensation, and Dismissal Act of 1990. When a teacher faces charges of insubordination, the hearing officer and school board must consider whether the teacher has intentionally refused to obey a “reasonable order.” The Court held that whether a school district’s order is reasonable is a finding of ultimate fact within the discretion of the governing school board. Still, that finding must be fully warranted by the hearing officer’s findings of evidentiary fact. This requires a school board to assess reasonableness on a case-by-case basis after consideration of all facts found by the hearing officer. The Court concluded that the school board in this case failed to adequately assess the reasonableness of the school district’s order, and therefore its decision to dismiss the teacher for insubordination was arbitrary and capricious. The Court reversed the court of appeals’ judgment and remanded the case to the school board to reinstate the teacher.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Warrantless Seizure of Laptop Computer Satisfied Plain View Exception

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Swietlicki on Monday, November 23, 2015.

Warrantless Seizures—Plain View Exception—Fellow Officer Rule.

In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order  suppressing evidence found on defendant’s laptop computer after police seized the laptop without a warrant. The Court held that the warrantless seizure was justified under the plain view exception to the warrant requirement. In so holding, the Court clarified that the “immediately apparent” requirement of the plain view exception demands only that the seizing officer have probable cause to associate the item with criminal activity without conducting a further search. The Court also determined that the fellow officer rule applies to probable cause determinations in the context of plain view seizures.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 11/24/2015

On Tuesday, November 24, 2015, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and three unpublished opinions.

United States v. Cunningham

United States v. Wilson

United States v. Ailsworth

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