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

May 2012 Archives

Sentence Reduction Eligibility Not a Right to a Reduced Sentence

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that a defendant who qualifies for a sentence reduction under an ameliorative amendment to the Sentencing Guidelines is not guaranteed a reduced sentence.

In February 2007, Rayne Osborn was convicted after pleading guilty to one count of distributing five grams or more of cocaine base. The sentencing court imposed 9 years of prison to be followed by 4 years of supervised release, which was at the low end of the guideline range of 108 to 135 months' imprisonment.

Will the Ninth Circuit Conference Kill All Future Conferences?

A number of you were probably disappointed when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals announced last year that it was cancelling its 2012 Bench & Bar Conference. Colorado Springs may not be the most exotic location for a legal elbow-rubbing, but the Broadmoor resort -- the proposed location for the conference -- is the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards. It looks swanky on the website.

But instead of planning a conference where you could kick back by the pool and share indemnity ghost stories with Judge Neil Gorsuch, the Tenth Circuit decided that it wouldn't be prudent to hold the conference due to budget cuts.

Your Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals neighbors have the opposite problem.

Roadless Rule Headed to the Supreme Court?

The Colorado Mining Association and the State of Wyoming are joining forces to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the Roadless Rule, a regulation that bans construction and reconstruction in certain inventoried roadless areas (IRAs).

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied en banc rehearing on the Roadless Rule in February; now the Clinton-era law's fate is in the Supreme Court's hands.

No Right to Bear Arms: Illegal Immigrants Are Not 'The People'

In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, like self-defense within the home. That right, according to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, is "qualified by what one might call the 'who,' 'what, 'where,' 'when,' and 'why.'"

The "who," for example, does not include illegal immigrants.

Tenth Circuit Skeptical of 'End Justifies the Means' Appeal

How much influence should a federal judge have over a criminal defendant’s defense strategy?

A Utah man is asking the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn his conviction for disrupting an oil and gas auction, arguing that his trial judge erred in shutting down his civil disobedience defense.

Tenth Circuit Talks About the Ghosts of Escape Clauses Past

We typically try to give you the highs and lows out of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to lighten the load on your required reading list. Today, we’re recommending that you actually read at least a few pages of this escape clause insurance dispute because it is clear that Judge Neil Gorsuch had fun writing it.

Insurance disputes? Fun? How is that possible?

Maybe because it’s because the litigants are arguing over who should pay when a haunted house worker falls down an elevator shaft. (So ironic, it’s scary.)

Pharmacist's HGH Conviction Affirmed, $4.8M Forfeiture Reversed

Thomas Bader, a licensed Colorado pharmacist, lost his human growth hormone (HGH) conviction appeal before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals this week, but succeeded in getting a $4.8 million forfeiture order overturned.

Bader owned and operated College Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy located in Colorado Springs. (Though the Tenth Circuit never resolved what a "compounding" pharmacy is, PharmWatch.org described College Pharmacy as "one of several [pharmacies] that supply nonstandard products to offbeat physicians who do chelation therapy, mesotherapy, and other dubious treatments.")

Court Upholds Pilot's Conviction for Flying Under the Influence

We get nervous when we encounter an obviously-impaired driver on the road. On a few occasions, we’ve even called the police to report impaired driving. But we never considered the possibility of impaired flying until we read this Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion.

If you’re already scared of air travel, you might be better off skipping this one.