August 18, 2019

Archives for March 23, 2016

DUI Victim Impact Panel Bill, Definition of Veteran Bill, and More Signed by Governor Hickenlooper

On Tuesday, March 22, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed nine bills into law. To date, he has signed 46 bills into law this legislative session. The bills signed Tuesday include a bill increasing the defendant’s cost for appearances before victim impact panels in DUI cases, allowing the state forest service to award grants for broadcast burns, conforming the Colorado statutory definition of “veteran” to federal law, creating an oversight committee for Colorado’s health benefit exchange, and more. The bills signed Tuesday are summarized here.

  • HB 16-1017 – Concerning Appearances Before a Victim Impact Panel, by Reps. Dan Pabon & Polly Lawrence and Sens. John Cooke & Michael Johnston. The bill increases the cost for appearances before a victim impact panel from $25 to $50.
  • HB 16-1019 – Concerning Increased Authority to Use Broadcast Burning as a Tool to Promote Watershed Restoration, by Rep. KC Becker and Sens. Matt Jones & Ellen Roberts. The bill allows the Colorado State Forest Service to award grants for broadcast burning.
  • HB 16-1026 – Concerning the Repeal of the Department of Revenue’s Revenue Impact Accounting Requirements Related to a Group of Bills Enacted in 2010, by Reps. Dan Thurlow & Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill repeals the requirement that the Department of Revenue provide quarterly reports about the fiscal impact of certain bills passed in the 2010 legislative session.
  • HB 16-1032 – Concerning Changes to the Content of a Criminal Summons, by Rep. Susan Lontine and Sens. Nancy Todd & John Cooke. The bill removes the requirement that summons and complaints for misdemeanors, petty offenses, and misdemeanor traffic offenses contain the defendant’s license plate number, driver’s license number, and a place to sign.
  • HB 16-1125 – Concerning Creating a Colorado Statutory Reference to Conform with the Federal Definition of “Veteran,” by Rep. Catherine Roupe and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill recreates the definition of “veteran” in state law to conform with federal law and makes conforming amendments.
  • HB 16-1130 – Concerning Changes to Annual Reports Prepared by the Department of Education, by Rep. Kevin Priola and Sen. Mike Johnston. The bill changes the date on which the Office of Dropout Prevention in the Department of Education must submit a report from February 15 to March 15, starting in 2017 and continuing each year thereafter. The bill also removes requirements that the Department of Education submit to the General Assembly executive summaries of reports.
  • HB 16-1148 – Concerning the Oversight Authority of the Health Insurance Exchange Oversight Committee with Regard to Policies that Affect Consumers Proposed by the Health Benefit Exchange, by Rep. Lang Sias and Sens. Ellen Roberts & John Kefalas. The bill requires Colorado’s health benefit exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, to create and operate technical and advisory groups to report to Connect for Health Colorado’s Board on issues that affect consumers.
  • HB 16-1161 – Concerning the Allocation of Certain Money that Exceeds the Total Amount of All Warrants Issued by the State Treasurer to Reimburse Local Governmental Entities for Property Tax Revenues Lost as a Result of the Application of a Certain Property Tax Exemption, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill changes allocation of revenue from senior property tax exemptions so that five percent of the revenue will go to the Veterans Assistance Grant Program Cash Fund.
  • HB 16-1241 – Concerning a Supplemental Appropriation to the Department of Higher Education, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill provides a supplemental appropriation to the Department of Higher Education.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2016 legislative decisions, click here.

Rule Change 2016(02) Amends Rules Governing Commissions on Judicial Performance

The Colorado Supreme Court issued Rule Change 2016(02), which amends the Rules Governing the Commissions on Judicial Performance, effective March 17, 2016. All but three of the 16 rules were amended; some of the changes were relatively minor and some were more involved. Rule 12, “Recommendations,” was amended drastically to delete some of the specific criteria regarding retention recommendations. Rule 14, “Confidentiality,” also had several changes, including the deletion of certain criteria for the release of confidential information. Some of the changes, however, only affected the order of the wording.

A redline of the changes is available here. For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.


Tenth Circuit: Sentence Upheld Because of District Court’s Detailed Findings About its Reasonableness

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Snowden on Friday, November 27, 2015.

Blake Snowden was a sales rep for Onyx, M.D., Inc. until his termination in August 2010. Onyx is a physician staffing agency that specializes in placing physicians in hospitals and clinics for short terms. Onyx uses a database program called Bullhorn, which it considers a competitive advantage. When Snowden was fired from Onyx, he decided to compete with Onyx in physician placement, and he obtained an Onyx executive’s password in March 2011 and used it to create his own Bullhorn account. Over the next few months, Snowden logged into Bullhorn dozens of times and copied gigabytes of data. He also intercepted emails of four Onyx executives. However, his efforts were unsuccessful; they neither benefited nor harmed Onyx’s business. When Onyx discovered the hack, the FBI traced it to a computer at Snowden’s address. Onyx’s only loss from the hack was about $25,ooo in legal fees and lost employee time related to the hack.

Snowden eventually pleaded guilty to unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and intercepting emails. The district court applied a 16-level enhancement based on its estimated loss of the cost of developing the database, $1.5 million, and calculated his Guidelines range as 41-51 months. However, the district court varied downward and sentenced him to 30 months. The court specifically found that it would apply a 30-month sentence no matter what, even if its Guidelines calculation was held to be incorrect on appeal.

The Tenth Circuit was skeptical about the district court’s assumption of $1.5 million in losses, although it understood the court’s reasoning. The Tenth Circuit found that had the district court limited its loss calculation to Onyx’s actual loss of approximately $25,000, the resulting Guidelines range would have been 8-14 months. However, it found any error harmless because of the district court’s detailed and unusual findings about what it considered to be a proper sentence for Snowden’s crime. The court specifically noted that it would vary upward to 30 months if the Guidelines range was too high and would vary downward to 30 months if the Guidelines range was too low. Because of these specific findings, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s sentence.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the sentence but reversed and remanded for the correction of the restitution award to the parties’ undisputed proposed restitution amount.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 3/22/2016

On Tuesday, March 22, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and eight unpublished opinions.

Sherard v. State of Utah

Jackson v. McCollum

White v. Patton

United States v. Locke

Webb v. Thompson

Vreeland v. Zupan

Webb v. Scott

Du Merac v. Colorado School of Mines

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