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

Criminal and Education Law Matters

The Tenth Circuit decided three criminal cases and one involving the allegedly unlawful denial of special education services.

D.L. v. Unified Sch. Dist. No. 497, No. 08-3273, was an action challenging a local school district's conclusion that plaintiff-students were ineligible for special education services.  The Tenth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for defendants on the grounds that 1) plaintiffs abandoned their Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act claims by failing to provide supplemental briefing to clarify and update the claims; and 2) plaintiffs lacked standing because they could not establish any causation between defendants' allegedly discriminatory conduct and any injury suffered by plaintiffs.

In US v. Washington, No. 09-3091, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's firearm possession conviction on the grounds that: 1) the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) because the Supreme Court had specifically required actual delivery of a request under the IAD to both the prosecutor and the court, and refused to carve a "fairness" exception to the express language of the IAD in cases in which a third party had negligently or maliciously prevented delivery from occurring; 2) the evidence, at best, would support a favorable finding as to only the first element of a fleeting possession defense; and 3) even without the transcript of defendant's prior testimony, the jury had sufficient evidence to find that defendant at the very least constructively possessed the firearms.

In US v. Ramos-Arenas, No. 09-2165, the Tenth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for falsely impersonating an officer or employee of the U.S., holding that 1) a reasonable jury could infer that defendant intended for his unsolicited lie to a state police officer to result in reducing his girlfriend's ticket to a warning; and 2) 18 U.S.C. section 912 did not require defendant to obtain something of value through the impersonation.

In US v. Garcia, No. 08-5090, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's drug possession conviction on the grounds that 1) a witness's assertion did not come close to establishing "inherent incredibility"; 2) there was direct evidence of defendant's ownership of the drugs and his intent to distribute them; and 3) the instructions did not mislead the jury about the need to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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