April 22, 2019

Archives for December 15, 2015

Top Ten Ethics Programs and Homestudies

It’s that time again — the end of the compliance period for a third of Colorado’s attorneys. As we approach the end of the year, we have compiled lists of the top programs across several practice areas. Keep reading Legal Connection for updates on the top programs in your practice area. Today, our spotlight is on ethics. The top ten ethics programs and homestudies are:

10. The Use of Technology in Your Practice Without Ethical Violations. In this program, Heather Kelly and John Palmeri discuss social media, cloud computing, smartphones, metadata, and their implications for your practice. Learn about the duty to safeguard client information and how that works with today’s technology. The program also discusses ABA Model Rules and ethics opinions regarding technology. One general credit, including one ethics credit. Available as MP3 audio download or Video OnDemand.

9. New Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2: Marijuana Law Update. In March 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court adopted a new comment to Colo. RPC 1.2 addressing a lawyer’s representation of clients with marijuana-related issues. Colorado Court of Appeals Judge John Webb, attorney Alec Rothrock, and Attorney Regulation Counsel Jamie Sudler presented this two-hour program regarding what the new comment says—and what it does not say. Two general credits, including two ethics credits. Available as MP3 audio download or Video OnDemand.

8. Settlement and Mediation Best Practices: Avoiding Pitfalls and Malpractice. This helpful one-hour program presented by Heather Kelly and Julie Williamson provides settlement tips applicable to all mediations and settlement discussions, including issues particular to medical damages, legal malpractice claims, and aggregate settlements. One general credit, including one ethics credit. Available as MP3 audio download or Video OnDemand.

7.  Privileges and Confidentiality. This program presented by John Palmeri discussed practical approaches to client secrets, confidentiality, attorney-client privilege, work product doctrine, lawyer disqualification, and lawyers as witnesses. One general credit, including one ethics credit. Available as MP3 audio download or Video OnDemand.

6. Ethical Issues for Attorneys Serving on Nonprofit Boards. Attorneys are frequently invited to serve on boards of directors for nonprofits, but there are potential ethical implications for attorneys who cannot resist the temptation to use their legal skills in their roles as directors. In this program, Ericka Houck Englert reviewed some potential ethical consequences for attorneys serving on nonprofit boards, including conflicts of interest, loss of attorney-client privilege, and competence. One general credit, including one ethics credit. Available as MP3 audio download or Video OnDemand.

5. Ethics and Professionalism in the Practice of Law 2015. This entertaining annual program, dubbed “interactive CLE legal theater” by the Peer Professionalism Assistance Group, provides a distinguished panel of experts who discuss a series of interactive vignettes acted out by the PPAG. Common and difficult problem areas are covered, and the four-hour program ends with perspectives from the bench and from Attorney Regulation Counsel. Four general credits, including four ethics credits. Available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand. NOTE: This program is repeated annually. Click here for the 2014 program and here for the 2013 program.

4. Preventing Legal Malpractice 2015 — Managing Risks and Client Relations OR A Perspective on Practice Pitfalls. Each year, CLE presents two Preventing Legal Malpractice programs: one directed at transactional attorneys, one directed at litigation attorneys. In addition to the printed materials, each attendee receives a copy of CLE’s book, Lawyers’ Professional Liability in Colorado. For 2015, recent case law was discussed, as well as ten things not to do when responding to regulation counsel, how to make mediation work, the lifecycle of a malpractice case, recurring malpractice and professional responsibility dilemmas, and beginning and ending representation. Four general credits, including four ethics credits. Available as CD homestudy (transactional/litigation), MP3 audio download (transactional/litigation), and Video OnDemand (transactional/litigation). NOTE: These programs are repeated annually. Click here for the 2014 programs (transactional/litigation) and here for the 2013 programs.

3. Ethics 7.0. This annual program provides a full compliance period worth of ethics credit in one day. For 2015, topics discussed included do’s and don’t’s to avoid having grievances filed against you, ethical issues in family law, ethical issues with providing unbundled legal services, dealing with clients with diminished capacity, ethics in juvenile law, use of social media, and the latest developments regarding marijuana use. Seven general credits, including seven ethics credits. Available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand. NOTE: This program is repeated annually. Click here for the 2014 program and here for the 2013 program.

2. Ethics with the Incomparable Sean Carter — Comedic Professional Education. Sean Carter travels the country providing ethics CLEs in the funniest way possible. He describes himself as a “Humorist At Law,” and his programs never disappoint. Sean Carter is coming to CLE this Friday, December 18, to present a full-day program featuring discussions of same-sex marriage, religious liberty, the Affordable Care Act, dress codes and religious observances, the Fourth Amendment, workplace discrimination, and the limits of political expression. Registration is still open for the live program and webcast — click here to register for the live program and click here for the webcast. Six general credits, including six ethics credits. Available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand after the program. NOTE: This program also occurred in 2013; click here for the homestudy.

1. Ethics Revue at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. Every year, the Law Club performs a musical-theater-inspired ethics program at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, complete with singing, musical performances, and acting. This year’s theme was 9.1 Shades of Grey, and performances discussed such topics as conversion, misrepresentation, billing and fees, conflicts of interest, and more. The performances are so fun you’ll forget you’re watching a CLE program. Three general credits, including three ethics credits. Available as DVD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand. NOTE: This program occurs annually; click here for the 2014 program and click here for the 2013 program.

Comment Period Open for Proposed Change to Colorado Rules of Evidence

The Colorado Supreme Court announced a proposed rule change to the Colorado Rules of Evidence. The change would add a new Rule 502, “Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product; Limitations on Waiver.” The new rule discusses waiver of the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine as applied to disclosures in Colorado proceedings or Colorado offices or agencies, and in federal proceedings. The rule also discusses inadvertent disclosure and party agreements.

Comments about the new rule may be submitted in writing to Christopher Ryan, clerk of the Supreme Court, via email or at 2 East 14th Avenue, Denver, CO 80203. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on March 3, 2016. Written comments will be posted on the State Judicial website after the comment period ends.

Click here to read the new rule. For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.

Finalists Announced for Vacancy on 11th Judicial District Court

On Monday, December 14, 2015, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of three finalists to fill a vacancy on the Eleventh Judicial District Court. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Hon. David M. Thorson, effective January 12, 2016. The three nominees are Molly K. Chilson of Salida, Ramsey Lama of Salida, and Donald “Chip” Cutler of Howard.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has fifteen days in which to select one of the nominees for appointment to the bench. Comments regarding the nominees may be emailed to the governor. For more information, click here.

Tenth Circuit: Lengthy Sentence Justified by Defendant’s Human Rights Violations

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Worku on Tuesday, September 1, 2015.

Mr. Habteab Berhe Temanu’s children approached Kefelegne Alemu Worku, an Ethiopian man, and asked him to assume the identity of their father because they were afraid they would not be able to complete the admission requirements to enter the United States due to his dementia. Worku assumed Berhe’s identity and later became a U.S. citizen under Berhe’s name. Immigration authorities learned Worku was using a false identity and suspected he had tortured Ethiopian prisoners in the ’70s. After an investigation and trial, Worku was convicted of unlawful procurement of citizenship or naturalization, fraud and misuse of visas and other documents, and aggravated identity theft. He was sentenced to 22 years, partly because of a finding that he had committed the identity theft crimes to conceal the Ethiopian human rights violations.

On appeal, Worku contended (1) the immigration convictions violated the Double Jeopardy clause, (2) his aggravated identity theft conviction was improper because he had permission to use Berhe’s identity, (3) the sentence was procedurally improper because there was no evidence he had come to the United States to conceal human rights violations and the witnesses identifying him as the torturer did so due to impermissively suggestive photo arrays, and (4) the sentence was substantively unreasonable.

The Tenth Circuit first addressed Worku’s Double Jeopardy argument. Worku argued that his unlawful procurement of citizenship and aggravated identity theft convictions were predicated on the same conduct. Under a plain error review, the Tenth Circuit affirmed, finding that Count 1 was based on Worku’s form for naturalization and Count 3 was based on misrepresentations in his application for permanent residence. Worku contended the distinction was blurred in the jury instructions, but the Tenth Circuit disagreed. The Tenth Circuit found that the evidence of guilt was overwhelming and uncontroverted, and Double Jeopardy was not implicated.

Next, the Tenth Circuit addressed Worku’s contention that he could not be convicted of aggravated identity theft because he had permission to use Berhe’s identity. The Tenth Circuit found no error in this conviction, because the statute only allows an individual to permit use of his or her identity and in this case the individual’s children were the ones who allowed Worku to use the identity.

The Tenth Circuit then turned to Worku’s argument that he was denied due process because photo arrays in which he was identified as the notorious prison supervisor who had tortured inmates were unduly suggestive. The Tenth Circuit evaluated the photo arrays and found that although there were differences in the arrays, there was no error in the district court’s determination that they were not impermissively suggestive because appearances would be expected to have changed over the 30-plus-year time span. The Tenth Circuit also evaluated the witnesses’ testimony and found that because the witnesses were victims of Worku’s horrific acts of torture, the time span was inconsequential and their identification with “100% certainty” was reliable.

Finally, the Tenth Circuit addressed the substantive reasonableness of Worku’s sentence. The district court decided to stray from the Guidelines range because there were not enough cases involving human rights violators entering the United States to provide a reliable comparison. The district court imposed the maximum sentence for each count to fully compensate for the egregiousness of Worku’s human rights violations. The Tenth Circuit found no abuse of discretion in the district court’s decision.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s conviction and sentence.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/14/2015

On Monday, December 14, 2015, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and four unpublished opinions.

United States v. Villegas

Rose v. Colvin

United States v. Bayatyan

Armstrong v. JPMorgan Chase Bank National Association

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