Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sorry for the delay

   So The Honorable Court has been taking a bit of a break lately, because I've been going through some shit.  My personal life has been turned on its ear, and my professional life has been even more chaotic.  I'm pretty sure all is well, though, so hopefully sometime in the next week I'll have a moment to go through my backlog of.... holy crap!  38 or so cases.  The Supreme Court Justices are all playing golf or something, so I'll blame the Tenth Circuit for however many sleepless nights it takes to read all of that.

   Anyway, for those of you who like to stay on the bleeding edge of Colorado-binding case law, sorry for the delay. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Colorado Court of Appeals People v. Kovacs 11CA0950

Decision here.

   I tried to keep this summary short and sweet, you may need caffeine anyway.

   Kovacs was indicted by a grand jury for forgery after he added a fictitious "Certification of Appraisal" to some appraisal paperwork that he prepared for various lenders (thankfully, that is all the information we need to discuss about what I'm sure was a riveting investigation).  He filed a motion with the district court to quash the indictment, and the indictment was quashed because the court held that adding false information to a document did not necessarily meet the elements of forgery (since it didn't transform the document into a completed or altered instrument).

   The Colorado Court of Appeals held that adding materially false information to any instrument (whether genuine or not) and thereby purporting to complete said instrument does, in fact, meet the "falsely completes" element of forgery.  In other words, someone can commit forgery by adding false information to otherwise legitimate documents with the intent to defraud.

Colorado Court of Appeals Francen v. Department of Revenue 10CV798

Decision Here.

   A police officer saw the passenger of a car get out at a red light and try to contact the driver of another car.  Then the passenger got back into his own car, and the when the light turned green the cop stopped the car.  Francen (the driver) was drunk.  He was arrested, and at a DOR hearing his license was revoked.  Francen appealed the revocation of his license, arguing (as he did at the hearing) that the stop of his car was illegal because it wasn't supported by reasonable suspicion.  The district court agreed, and reversed the revocation.  The DOR appealed, and the Colorado Court of Appeals ordered the revocation to be reinstated.

   The Court ruled that the exclusionary rule doesn't apply to DOR hearings.  Their reasoning is that the exclusionary rule is a judicially created rule designed to protect the Fourth Amendment (as opposed to being a mandate of the Amendment itself), and that it is generally applicable to criminal cases.  In civil cases like this, it generally isn't applicable (there are some exceptions, but DOR hearings aren't one of them).  The Court didn't exactly reach the issue of whether or not the stop was illegal, although it also didn't challenge the district court's assertion that it was.  Since that issue wasn't decided, this case is of pretty limited use to law enforcement (it's nice from an academic standpoint to know that the exclusionary rule doesn't apply in DOR hearings, but we shouldn't make illegal stops anyway so a decision directly concerning the legality of the stop would have been much more interesting).  Even so, I figured it was worth a couple of paragraphs.