U.S. Tenth Circuit - The FindLaw 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

March 2012 Archives

No Split-Note Defense: MERS Can Foreclose on Homes

We don't fault attorneys for resorting to creative arguments to halt foreclosure; it's an attorney's job to represent her client zealously. But when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down a legal theory, we try to clue you in so you don't waste your time making a similar argument in the future.

That brings us to today's now-defunct foreclosure theory: MERS can't foreclose on a home on Utah. According to a multiple Tenth Circuit opinions, that's simply not true.

This is Happening: Law School Musical April 12-14 in Boulder

Billy Flynn, Broadway’s most beloved singing lawyer, knew the importance of giving the jury that “old razzle dazzle.” But Flynn was a figment of Bob Fosse’s imagination. And he was presumably licensed and wealthy.

What about the struggling law students who have yet to razzle, dazzle, or amass a personal fortune? Don’t they deserve a musical, too? Students at the University of Colorado Law School seem to think so: they will be performing their “First Annual Colorado Law School Musical, Glamorous Law School,” April 12-14 at the Dairy Center for the Arts Carsen Theater in Boulder, Colo. Performances start at 8:00 p.m., and you can buy tickets for only $15.

No Credit for Time Served, No Problem

Don’t assume that a federal court will give your client credit for time served for multiple supervised release violations.

This week, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a district court was not required to credit a defendant for his previous terms of revocation imprisonment.

Chuck E. Cheese Killer Nathan Dunlap Gets Another Appeal

Chuck E. Cheese Killer Nathan Dunlap is once again asking the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop his execution.

Though it’s been 15 years since Colorado last executed a death row inmate, according to The Denver Post, Dunlap is in the final stages of his guaranteed appeals. Last year, the Tenth Circuit rejected Dunlap’s presumptive and actual prejudice challenges that the district court should have granted his motion for a change of venue, and should have applied the Skilling factors to his case. Now, he’s arguing mental illness and ineffective counsel.

How Long is Too Long for a Traffic Stop?

Traffic stop laws aren’t always clear, so we often see suppression challenges stemming from traffic stops in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

This week, we have a case that demonstrates that traffic stop laws are even less forgiving toward tractor-trailer drivers than they are toward average motorists.

Child Porn Defendant Loses on 'Viewed' but not 'Received' Claim

Kenneth Dean Sturm may have asserted the creepiest defense yet to a child pornography possession charge.

Sturm was indicted for knowing possession of three specific images of child pornography and knowing receipt of materials containing images of child pornography. At trial, Sturm did not dispute he had searched for and viewed child pornography on the Internet; at the time, such conduct was not a federal crime. Instead, he argued that viewing and search for child pornography doesn't qualify as receiving the images.

The jury disagreed and convicted Sturm on both counts. Sturm appealed. This week, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Sturm's convictions.

It's Called 'Binding Arbitration' for a Reason

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the San Juan Coal Company in Farmington, N.M. is bound by the terms of an arbitration ruling with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the union that represents mine workers at the company's Farmington, N.M. coal mine.

San Juan and the IUOE have a collective bargaining agreement detailing the terms of the mine workers' employment. The collective bargaining agreement stipulated that an employee who works beyond his scheduled hours for a particular day will be paid 1.5 times the normal rate, and an employee required to work for two hours after the end of his shift will be paid for an additional half-hour at 1.5 times his normal rate.

Quiet Riot: Landowner Loses Claim Due to Statute of Limitations

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reminds us today that the Quiet Title Act statute of limitations favors the government. Before you file a Quiet Title claim, you might want to double check when your client — or her predecessor in interest — reasonably should have known of the government’s right in a disputed property.

Anne George lives next to the Gila National Forest in Silver City, New Mexico. She wants to fence her property to corral her horse. The Forest Service has a road running through her land, so George offered to leave a gate across the road unlocked; the Service rejected the idea. The Service, instead, suggested that George pen her horse with a fence running alongside its road; George rejected this alternative.

Tenth Circuit Judge David Ebel Named OCU Jurist-in-Residence

Oklahoma City University has named Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge David Ebel as the 2012 McAfee & Taft Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence.

So what does a Jurist-in-Residence do?

14-Day Resentencing Period is a Hard Deadline

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals interprets the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure strictly.

For example, Rule 35 allows a court to “correct a sentence that resulted from arithmetical, technical, or other clear error” within 14 days after sentencing.

What happens after 14 days? According to the Tenth Circuit, the court loses subject matter jurisdiction for resentencing when the period lapses.