April 18, 2019

Archives for February 21, 2017

Colorado Supreme Court: Announcement Sheet, 2/21/2017

On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, the Colorado Supreme Court issued two published opinions.

Youngquist v. Miner

People v. Cox

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions.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

Tenth Circuit: Commerce Clause Does Not Protect Creator of Child Pornography

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Humphrey on Wednesday, January 18, 2017.

Reginald Humphrey was convicted of the rape and forcible sexual abuse of his live-in girlfriend’s stepdaughter and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. During the state’s investigation into the abuse claims, police found photographs and videos depicting the abuse on Humphrey’s computer. Subsequent to his conviction on the abuse claims, a grand jury indicted Humphrey on one count of producing child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a).

Section 2251(a) prohibits a minor from engaging in sexually explicit conduct to create a visual depiction of such conduct if it was made with materials that have been mailed, shipped, or transported via intrastate commerce. The court stated that there is no doubt § 2251(a) applies to Humphrey’s conduct in this case. Humphrey conditionally pleaded guilty to the charge, and reserved his right to appeal the district court’s ruling, arguing that the application of § 2251(a) to his solely intrastate activities violated the commerce clause as he did not distribute or share the child pornography across state lines.

The Tenth Circuit had to determine if the previous decisions of the court upholding the application of § 2251(a) to the production of child pornography were invalidated by the Supreme Court decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. While Humphrey acknowledges the court’s holding in United States v. Jeronimo-Bautista that the application of § 2251(a) to the intrastate production of child pornography did not violate the commerce clause, he argues the holding should be overturned in light of the ruling in NFIB, which rejected congress’s regulation of an individual’s inactivity in the market.

The court rejected Humphrey’s argument that NFIB should apply, as the NFIB case involved an individual’s failure to engage in a commercial activity where Congress had mandated action, while Humphrey’s case involved no requirement to act by Congress. The court states that this distinguishes Humphrey’s case from NFIB, because, “here, Humphrey didn’t fail to produce child pornography; he actively engaged in producing it.” The court states that because the NFIB case has no affect on Congress’s ability to regulate interstate commerce, they are bound by their previous holding in Jeronimo-Bautista.

The court affirmed the district court’s denial of Humphrey’s motion to dismiss.

HB 17-1169: Giving Construction Professionals the Right to Cure Alleged Defects

On February 6, 2017, Rep. Timothy Leonard and Sen. Jack Tate introduced HB 17-1169, “Concerning a Construction Professional’s Statutory Right to Repair under the ‘Construction Defect Action Reform Act’.”

The bill clarifies that a construction professional has the right to receive notice from a prospective claimant concerning an alleged construction defect; to inspect the property; and then to elect to either repair the defect or tender an offer of settlement before the claimant can file a lawsuit seeking damages.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. It is scheduled to be heard in committee on March 1, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.

HB 17-1139: Exposing Medicaid Providers to Civil Damages for Improper Billing

On February 1, 2017, Reps. Lois Landgraf & Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Sens. John Kefalas & Beth Martinez Humenik introduced HB 17-1139, “Concerning Improving Medicaid Client Protections Through Effective Enforcement of Medicaid Provider Requirements.”

The bill subjects a provider of medicaid services to a civil monetary penalty if the provider improperly bills or seeks collection from a medicaid recipient or the estate of a medicaid recipient.

In addition, the bill allows the department of health care policy and financing (department) to require a corrective action plan from any provider who fails to comply with rules, manuals, or bulletins issued by the department, the medical services board, or the department’s fiscal agent or from a provider whose activities endanger the health, safety, or welfare of a medicaid recipient. Based on good cause, the department may suspend the enrollment of a medicaid provider for a period of time set forth in the bill. The provider has the right to appeal the suspension administratively.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Public Health Care & Human Services Committee.