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

September 2012 Archives

Super Diligence Can Trigger Statute of Limitations

Travis Denny was sentenced to 240 months in jail for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He told his attorney, Joe Romero, that he wanted to appeal. Romero explained that an appeal was probably a bad idea, since Denny had received a substantial downward variance from the guideline range of 324 to 405 months, and could receive more time if the government challenged the downward variance on appeal.

Attorney-client communication wasn't so good here. Denny thought the appeal was happening. Romero didn't.

What is the Value of a Deer?

Federal courts are occasionally asked to decide seemingly frivolous points of law, like the value of a red wax seal or the essence of golf.

Last week, it was the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals' turn to weigh in on one of the more philosophical points of law: What is the value of a deer?

In this particular case, the value factored into two brothers' sentences for poaching violations under the Lacey Act.

Constitution Party of Kansas Loses Political Party Appeal

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Constitution Party of Kansas on Tuesday in its legal crusade to become a recognized political party.

The Constitution Party of Kansas sued the Secretary of State of Kansas, now Kris Kobach, alleging that its members’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights are violated by the Secretary’s refusal, consistent with Kansas law, to keep track of Kansas voters’ affiliation with the Constitution Party because the Constitution Party is not a recognized political party under Kansas law.

Court Affirms Tim DeChristopher's Oil Bidding Conviction

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals clarified today that you don't have to be part of a group to organize or participate in a scheme. Let us explain.

Tim DeChristopher entered a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oil and gas lease auction in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2008, by representing he was a bidder. His purpose was to disrupt the auction and call attention to the potential environmental harms of drilling on the leases. He proceeded to drive up the auction prices as Bidder Number 70 and ultimately won almost $1.8 million in bids, for which he was unable to pay.

He was ultimately convicted for this "scheme."

ADA Employment Discrimination: You Can't Sue Under Title II

If you are filing an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) employment discrimination claim on a client's behalf, sue under Title I. Title I authorizes the disabled to bring employment discrimination claims.

Title II offers no recourse for employees, according to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Of course, some employee had to learn that lesson the hard way so everyone else could learn it the easy way.

If at First You Don't Object, You Probably Can't Try Again

As the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals describes it, "This case began with an angry bill collector, metamorphosed into a discovery dispute, and now serves mostly as another reminder about the importance of preserving your best arguments in the proper administrative forum rather than trying them for the first time in an appellate court."

Robert Madrid worked for Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), collecting overdue bills for the electric utility. One day, Madrid got mad at a "particularly obstinate customer" and disconnected the customer's gas line without his supervisor's permission. Making matters worse? PNM didn't even provide the gas service, another utility did.

Federal Preemption: Colorado Can't Tell Army How to Do its Job

Bad news out of Colorado today: Federal preemption bars a state from ordering the feds to destroy a chemical weapon stored within its borders if Congress has also set a timeline for the weapon’s destruction.

The U.S. has stored a mustard agent at the Army’s weapons depot located near Pueblo, Colorado since the 1950s. Congress has mandated that the Army destroy those weapons by 2017. Separately, Congress authorized the State of Colorado to regulate hazardous waste within its borders. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division (Colorado) decided chemical weapons should be classified as hazardous waste, and told the Army to make a plan to destroy the chemical weapons by 2017.