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

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The Fort Collins, Colorado ban on women being topless in public garnered quite a bit of attention when the law was passed, and then again when the law was struck down by the district court. And now, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the district court's injunction blocking the law, setting up a challenge for the Supreme Court.

The law, as the Tenth Circuit and district court saw it, is simple, blatant, and clear gender discrimination. It literally treats men and women unequally expressly because of their gender.

Colorado Pharmacists Plead Guilty to Illegally Distributing Opioids

Two pharmacists pleaded guilty to felony charges for illegally distributing controlled substances in Colorado.

Stanley G. Callas and Scott Alan Eskanos entered guilty pleas in federal court, where they will be sentenced in March.

The case reaffirmed Colorado's commitment to enforcing drug laws as the state suffers through the deadliest year of overdoses in its history.

Florida Court Says Police Need Warrants for Stingray Cell Phone Searches

A Florida appeals court joined other states in requiring police to obtain warrants before using a controversial cell phone tracker.

A Stingray simulates a cell phone tower, transmitting cellular signals to and from nearby cell phones. When police use the device, they can follow phone signals to their location.

In State of Florida v. Sylvestre, the court said police sidestepped the warrant requirement when they tracked down an accused murderer. They found him, but this time the bad guy got away.

New Mexico Compound Suspects Indicted

Alleged jihadists were indicted on weapons and conspiracy charges in New Mexico, where authorities say the defendants were training to carry out attacks in the United States.

Magistrate Judge Kiran Khalsa denied bail to the five adults, and told them there was "clear and convincing evidence" that they are "a danger to the community."

It is an especially disturbing case because originally the Muslim adherents were arrested after police found 11 starving children and the body of a three-year-old at their desert compound.

For former missionary worker Matthew Durham, his appeal of a conviction on multiple counts of sexual abuse and rape of orphan children while working in Kenya was rejected in a detailed, 100 plus page opinion of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Durham's challenge however did present a novel argument, challenging the foreign commerce clause's reach. Because his conduct occurred outside of the United States, the panel of Tenth Circuit justices split on whether using the foreign commerce clause to punish noncommercial illicit sexual activity was constitutional.

For Roberto Roman, the criminal justice system must seem unreal. Reading the recent Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in his case, it's easy to see why.

After Roman confessed to the murder of a Utah sheriff's deputy, he then was acquitted of the murder (after a state-court jury trial where he testified that the deputy's brother, who died of a drug overdose a few months after his sister's death, and who just so happened to be riding along in the car with Roman and doing meth, murdered his own sister). Although Roman was acquitted in state court, federal charges were brought against him, and Roman was convicted for the murder in federal district court. He was sentenced to life plus 80 years.

In the state of Oklahoma, a person convicted of an aggravated sex offense is required to get a driver license that has a marking indicating that they are an aggravated sex offender. Ray Carney is one such offender, and he filed a lawsuit ahead of his release to try to avoid this punishment. And while this level of punishment is more than just the Hawthorn-ian Scarlet Letter of sorts, it was dismissed at the federal court level and won nothing in or on appeal.

The offender argued that the compulsory requirement violated his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The court considered each claim briefly, but in the end it upheld the Oklahoma licensing requirement.

No 'Speedy Trial' Violation After Two Years Awaiting Trial, 10th Cir. Rules

Marty Madkins III appealed his drug convictions, saying he was denied a speedy trial.

But the big problem was Madkins had been convicted of drug violations twice before. Even though his third case took two years to get to trial, a federal appeals court said justice was speedy enough.

But sometimes it's better when the wheels of justice grind slowly. According to the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in United States of America v. Madkins, the defendant may actually get less time.

No Clearly Established Right for Prisoners to Exercise Outside

Prisoners may exercise their rights, but that does not include a right to exercise outside.

So said the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Lowe v. Raemisch. The appeals court said the Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, but it does not clearly establish a constitutional right to exercise outdoors.

"[D]eprivation of outdoor exercise for two years and one month would not have obviously crossed a constitutional line," Judge Robert Bacharach wrote for the unanimous court.

10th Circuit Tosses Marijuana Banking Suit

They are growing more than marijuana in Colorado; they are growing pot law.

Adding to a growing body of marijuana decisions, the U.S.Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals said a Colorado credit union could not force the U.S. banking system to give it a master account to serve the state's marijuana industry. In The Fourth Corner Credit Union v. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the appeals court threw out the credit union's complaint without prejudice.

It is the second decision from the appeals court this month involving the marijuana industry, and one of many pot laws on the books in Colorado.