August 19, 2019

Archives for June 3, 2016

New Chief Justice Directive 16-02 Adopted by Colorado Supreme Court

On Friday, June 3, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the adoption of a new Chief Justice Directive. CJD 16-02, “Court Appointments Through the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel,” is effective July 1, 2016, and addresses the appointment, training, and payment of respondent parents’ counsel appointed to represent indigent parents in dependency and neglect proceedings.

The directive sets forth the mission, authority, and responsibilities of the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel. The directive also lists qualifications for attorneys appointed through the office, including appellate counsel. Practice guidelines, requirements, and continuing education requirements for attorneys are also included, as well as duties for judges and magistrates and procedures for complaints against counsel. Guidelines are set forth for payment by the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel.

The directive was signed by Chief Justice Nancy Rice on June 1, 2016, to take effect July 1. Click here for CJD 16-02 and click here for all the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Directives.

CJD 06-03 Regarding Language Interpreters and Court Access Amended

On Wednesday, June 1, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced that Chief Justice Directive 06-03, “Directive Concerning Language Interpreters and Access to the Courts by Persons of Limited English Proficiency,” was amended, effective May 31, 2016.

The changes to the Chief Justice Directive include updating the name of the Office of Language Access, which was formerly known as the Court Interpreter Program, and minor editorial changes to clarify the use of certified and credentialed interpreters for both in-person and telephonic events in order to further the Judicial Department’s mission of ensuring people of limited English proficiency have full access to the courts.

For all of the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Directives, click here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 6/2/2016

On Thursday, June 2, 2016, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued three published opinions and 21 unpublished opinions.

People v. Nardine

People v. Mountjoy

People v. Triplett

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions.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

Tenth Circuit: Malicious Prosecution Claims Under § 1983 Supported by Fourth Amendment Violations

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Sanchez v. Hartley on Monday, January 11, 2016.

Four detectives and an investigator investigating a 2009 burglary and sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl interviewed Tyler Sanchez, an 18-year-old with significant cognitive disabilities. Even though Mr. Sanchez did not fit the description provided by the victim, the detectives and investigator conducted lengthy interviews, in which Mr. Sanchez eventually confessed to the burglary but not the sexual assault. The district attorney decided to charge Mr. Sanchez with both crimes, and he was detained for several months after multiple judges found probable cause based on the confession.

Mr. Sanchez argues his confession was false, noting that because of his disabilities he did not understand what was happening during the interviews. A medical examination supported his explanation, and the district attorney dropped the charges in 2012. Mr. Sanchez then sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, arguing the defendants committed malicious prosecution in violation of the Fourth Amendment by using a false confession to initiate legal prosecution and lengthy pretrial detention. The defendants moved for dismissal based on qualified immunity, but the district court denied the motion. Defendants then brought an interlocutory appeal, arguing they were entitled to qualified immunity and also that Mr. Sanchez’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations.

The Tenth Circuit conducted a de novo review of whether Mr. Sanchez adequately stated a claim that the defendants violated his constitutional rights by using a confession they knew to be false. Defendants set forth five reasons why Mr. Sanchez’s complaint failed to show a constitutional violation, which the Tenth Circuit disposed of in turn. First, defendants argued that § 1983 does not support a claim for malicious prosecution in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Tenth Circuit disagreed, finding that § 1983 could support both Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations.

Next, the defendants argued the complaint failed to set forth sufficient allegations that defendants knew the confession was untrue or recklessly disregarded its truth. The Tenth Circuit found that Mr. Sanchez alleged several facts to support his claim, for example: (1) the description of the attacker given by the victim did not match Mr. Sanchez’s physical appearance in several key ways, including age, size, hair color, and tattoos; (2) Mr. Sanchez has severe cognitive difficulties that affect his behavior in noticeably unusual ways; (3) Mr. Sanchez had significant difficulties understanding and answering questions during the interviews with defendants; (4) Mr. Sanchez’s unusual behaviors during the interview were amplified by fatigue, as the defendants kept him up for over 30 hours during the interviews, and he answered with his eyes closed by the end of the interview; (5) the defendants noticed Mr. Sanchez’s unusual behavior, and asked him whether he was just saying what they wanted to hear and whether he was intoxicated; and (6) Mr. Sanchez was unable to give any details about his involvement to the crime, and instead agreed to everything the defendants proposed, including details that defendants knew were false. The Tenth Circuit found that these facts and others supported an inference that the defendants knew Mr. Sanchez’s confession was false.

Defendants also argued that the initial warrantless arrest invalidated Mr. Sanchez’s claim for malicious prosecution, and that he could only argue a claim for false imprisonment. The Tenth Circuit again disagreed, pointing out that its prior precedent supported claims for malicious prosecution based on seizures that occur after warrantless arrests. Defendants also argued the malicious prosecution claim was confined to the district attorney, but again the Tenth Circuit disagreed, finding no support for defendants’ argument.

Finally, the defendants argued that Mr. Sanchez did not show facts that would shock the conscience. However, the Tenth Circuit held that the shock the conscience standard does not apply to Fourth Amendment claims, only to substantive due process claims. The Tenth Circuit held that Mr. Sanchez had pleaded facts sufficient to show a violation of his constitutional rights.

Turning next to the question of whether those rights were clearly established at the time of the violation, the Tenth Circuit held that they were. At least five years prior to 2009, the Tenth Circuit had decided cases that should have alerted the defendants to the fact that the knowing or reckless use of a false confession would violate the Fourth Amendment. The Tenth Circuit found that each of defendants’ three arguments was invalid because defendants violated the Fourth Amendment regardless of their awareness of Mr. Sanchez’s cognitive disabilities, the contours of malicious prosecution claims do not affect whether defendants violated Mr. Sanchez’s constitutional rights, and in 2009 case law suggested that both Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations could support a § 1983 claim.

The Tenth Circuit declined to exercise its pendant appellate jurisdiction to address the statute of limitations claim. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of qualified immunity and remanded for further proceedings.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 6/2/2016

On Thursday, June 2, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and four unpublished opinions.

United States v. Pawelski

United States v. Webb

Wright v. Collison

Chavez v. Colvin

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