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Calling something a legal "technicality" is like calling a judge an "activist" or, in George Orwell's formulation, anyone a "fascist." The word doesn't mean anything except "I don't like that person." In the law, "technicality" just means "I lost."

The Tenth Circuit emphasized the importance of process, though, as it decided a district court in Kansas was correct in refusing to consider 700 pages of documents not filed in compliance with local rules.

Top 10 Blog Posts From the 10th Cir. in 2014

Ask 99 percent of America what the Tenth Circuit is and they will either stare at you blankly or mumble some guess about science fiction. But despite its "flyover" circuit status, the Tenth Circuit has been big this year.

First to address gay marriage? Yep. Citizens United II? Uh-huh.

Here are the 10 most popular Tenth Circuit blog posts for 2014:

Will Somebody Please Fix the Terrible New 10th Circuit Website?

Last year, I was assigned to cover the Tenth Circuit, and it was a glorious time. I mocked the court's citation of dicta in a terrible concealed carry opinion, laughed when they raged at the Ninth Circuit and a litigious undocumented immigrant, and alliterated when Mr. Cush's curtilage was invaded by a "knock and sniff."

When assignments were shuffled later that year, I genuinely missed the Tenth Circuit beat. I also apparently missed the part where they redesigned the website to turn it in to a steaming pile of something folks in many 10th Circuit states will be familiar with: horse manure.

Lesson From U.S. v. Henderson: Don't Give Up, Poll the Jury

The Tenth Circuit issued an opinion today in United States v. Henderson that demonstrates the importance of polling the jury when you get a verdict against you.

In 2011, former Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer Jeff Henderson was convicted of several counts during a corruption trial and was sentenced to 42 months in prison, Tulsa's KOTV reports. The most interesting issue on appeal was this: Was Henderson denied his constitutional right to a unanimous jury, given that one juror was instructed by the foreman that she was not permitted to change her guilty vote?

The court decided no. Henderson attached an affidavit from the juror, but the court did not consider it, citing Rule 606(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which provides:

Salt Lake's 'Borg' Courthouse Debuts with a Shooting

The "Borg Cube," as the locals like to call it, opened one week ago. Today was the first trial in the new courthouse. Lets hope the rest of the trials go more smoothly than this one.

During the last of a series of trials for alleged Tongan Crips members, defendant Siale Angilau, 25, allegedly grabbed a pen or pencil and tried to charge the stand. A U.S. Marshall shot him multiple times in the chest. He was removed from the building on a stretcher, in critical condition, while the brand new courthouse is expected to be locked down until Monday afternoon, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

Arguments Heard in First Post-Windsor Same-Sex Marriage Appeal

The big day is here. The first federal appellate case post-Windsor made its way through oral arguments this morning, and it was not without its own wave of drama.

Even before the arguments began, Utah officials backtracked on authority used in their briefs. Then, in oral arguments, the panel seemed to be deeply divided, with two judges sticking to their predicted ideological lines, and a third serving as the wildcard.

As the first of a coming wave of same-sex marriage appeals in this circuit, and many other circuit courts of appeal, this case is important as authority for the remaining cases, as well as a possible vehicle for a Supreme Court appeal.

Utah Court News: District Court Relocation, Upcoming CLE

In case you got caught up in the excitement of the first Utah woman being confirmed to the Tenth Circuit, you may need a reminder about some other important events: The Utah District Court is relocating and the Utah State Bar has an estate planning CLE coming up.

Here's what lawyers need to know:

Judge Carolyn McHugh was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on May 16, 2013. It took nearly 10 months to confirm her, despite her candidacy being non-controversial and supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Why did it take so long? Politics, of course.

The Political Landscape of Confirming Judges

Judge Carolyn McHugh was confirmed unanimously on Wednesday (March 12) -- just two days after 34 Republicans voted to block her nomination, reports MSNBC. Republicans and Democrats are pointing fingers at each other, with Democrats on one side blaming Republicans for filibusters and wasting "time and money to annoy Senate Democrats," while Republicans argue that's the only way to show their discontent with the Democrats' "nuclear option" of bringing back majority-rule voting on judicial nominees, reports according to MSNBC.

But, enough about the blame game, let's get to know Judge Carolyn McHugh.

The Criminal Justice Act ("CJA") established a system to provide attorneys to defendants in federal criminal cases who could otherwise not afford legal representation. If you are currently a member of the CJA panel, and are interested in getting more experience, the Standing Committee is currently accepting applications for lawyers to serve on the Standing Committee on the Criminal Justice Act.

CJA Standing Committee Vacancies

The Standing Committee of the U.S. District Court's Criminal Justice Act has announced that it is seeking applications for the Standing Committee, so that it may fill three vacancies. The term for each position on the Standing Committee will begin on approximately April 1, 2014, and lasts three years. Once a member of the Standing Committee, an attorney may serve up to two more terms. The Standing Committee meets at least six times per year, and applicants must be "willing to attend all meetings, and must be prepared to devote significant time to the assigned duties."

Panel Attorneys Rejoice: Pay Rates Restored in Federal Courts

Panel attorneys defending clients in federal criminal cases will have their pay rates restored beginning on March 1, 2014.

The "raise" applies to all districts that use panel attorneys, including the Tenth Circuit. Now hourly compensation for panel attorneys that represent non-capital cases will receive $126 an hour, while capital representations will receive $180 an hour, according to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

The pay increase was authorized by the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States on February 10.