June 20, 2019

Archives for February 8, 2017

Colorado Supreme Court: “Possession” of Child Pornography Occurs When Computer User Views Files on Internet

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Marsh v. People on Monday, February 6, 2017.

Child Pornography—Criminal Trials—Evidence.

In this case, the Colorado Supreme Court considered the meaning of “possession” in  Colorado’s child pornography statute and held that when a computer user seeks out and views child pornography on the Internet, he possesses the images he views. Accordingly, the court concluded that because the evidence presented at trial established that petitioner’s cache contained images that a computer user had previously viewed on the web browser, the Internet cache images qualified as relevant evidence that the petitioner had previously viewed, and thus possessed, those images. Therefore, the court affirmed the court of appeals’ judgment in its entirety.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Totality of Circumstances Informs Probable Cause Determination

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Cox on Monday, February 6, 2017.

Fourth Amendment—Probable Cause—Totality of the Circumstances—Canine Alerts.

Several factors led the trooper, who had stopped defendant’s vehicle for a traffic infraction, to suspect that there might be evidence of illegal activity in the vehicle’s trunk, including defendant’s unusual nervousness, an inconsistency in his account of his travels, the fact that he had two cell phones on the passenger seat of his vehicle, and the fact that the trooper’s canine alerted to the trunk for the presence of  drugs. The trooper searched the trunk over defendant’s objection and found  multiple sealed packages of marijuana. Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence found in the trunk, which the trial court granted. The trial court concluded that the canine alert could not be considered under the totality of the circumstances because the canine would alert to both legal and illegal amounts of marijuana. The trial court ultimately held that the trooper did not have probable cause to search the trunk.

The Colorado Supreme Court reversed. Under People v. Zuniga, 2016 CO 52, issued before the trial court issued its order in this case, the canine alert should be considered as a part of the totality of the circumstances. Considering the totality of the circumstances, including the canine alert, defendant’s unusual nervousness, an inconsistency in his account of his travels, and the fact that he had two cell phones on the passenger seat of his vehicle, there was probable cause to search the vehicle’s trunk.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: In Identity Theft Case, People Must Show Knowledge of Theft

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Molina on Monday, February 6, 2017.

Criminal Law—Identity Theft.

This case came to the Colorado Supreme Court on certiorari review of the court of appeals’ unpublished opinion, People v. Molina, No. 11CA1650 (Colo. App. June 19, 2014). A jury convicted Daniela Molina of two counts of identity theft and three counts of forgery. The court granted certiorari to resolve three issues: (1) whether the People must show that Molina knew she stole another person’s information; (2) whether there was sufficient evidence that Molina knew she stole a real person’s information; and (3) whether an apartment lease and employment qualify under the identity theft statute as “thing[s] of value.” The court answered all three questions in the affirmative. Therefore, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part the court of appeals’ judgment and remanded the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 2/7/2017

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and six unpublished opinions.

Walker v. Crum

United States v. Pielsticker

United States v. Sicairos

United States v. Brooks

United States v. Jordan

Coleman v. United States District Court District of New Mexico

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