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TCL > February 2007 Issue > Bar News

February 2007       Vol. 36, No. 2       Page  5
In and Around the Bar

Bar News
by Mindy Marks, Cheryl Law

Bar News is a monthly compilation of news from the Colorado Bar Association,
including Sections and Committees, Administration, and Local and Specialty Bar Associations.

Please send information and photos about Bar events and activities taking place around the state to: Mindy Marks—, (303) 824-5312; call toll-free in-state: (800) 332-6736.


David R. Ball is the recipient of the CBA’s 2006 Gary McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award. Ball, a Senior Associate at Holme Roberts & Owen LLP in Denver, has engaged in more than 800 hours of pro bono legal services during the past two years. He also is active with the Mile High Down Syndrome Association.

Ball is an active member of the Denver Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (DBA YLD). He is secretary of the Executive Council of the DBA YLD and also chairs the Attorneys’ Night Out program for the organization.


The CBA is seeking nominations for the following awards: Hoagland, Schaetzel, Meadoff, Donahue, and the Pro Bono Coordinator of the Year. Each award honors outstanding leadership in the development, support, and ongoing efforts to meet the legal needs of low-income and vulnerable people of Colorado. Attorneys, nonattorneys, or law firms may be nonimated. Visit the CBA website at for nomination forms and criteria for each award.

Individuals may be nominated for several awards. To be considered, nomination forms must be received by February 28, 2007. Completed forms may be sent by e-mail to Cheryl Law at or by U.S. mail to: Colorado Bar Association, Attn. Cheryl Law, 1900 Grant St., Suite 900, Denver, CO 80203.


CBA–CLE presented the Denver Law Club in "The Ethics Revue" on December 13, 2006, at the Hyatt Regency in Denver (see photos below). This new program blended the musical skills of the Law Club with the insightful and thought-provoking oratorical talents of members of the CBA Ethics Committee. Topics ranged from conflicts of interest and deposing opposing counsel to witness preparation and discovery obligations.

The performance included musical favorites:

  • It’s the Most Ethical Time of the Year
  • The Twelve Days of Conflicts-Checking Diligence
  • Super Lawyer
  • Pro Bono Obligation Song
  • A Spooky Little Witness Like You

Dan McCune.

Left to right: Diana Terry, Patricia Madsen, and Jeanne Toro.

Keith Whitelaw, left, and Jim Black.

Doug Cressler


The Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers presented its Annual Advanced Family Law Institute in Denver on December 8, 2006, at the Denver Doubletree Hotel. This advanced-level family law seminar included specialized educational topics for family law practitioners.

Left to right: Chair Mary Kelly, Dale Johnson, Gary Polidori, and Robert Phillips.

The focus of the 2006 program was the interrelationships between dissolution and estate planning. The program chair was Mary Kelly. Featured faculty from the chapter included: Hon. Angela Arkin, Stephen J. Harhai, William L. Hunnicutt, Dale E. Johnson, Ronald R. Litvak, Timothy R. J. Mehrtens, Robert Phillips, Gary Polidori, and Kimberly R. Willoughby. Other participants were estate planners and accountants.

Steve Harhai also played a part in helping to launch the Chapter’s website. It is available at

Tim Mehrtens, left, and Ron Litvak presented a case law update Steve Harhai spoke about technology in family law. Hon. Angela Arkin delivered a tribue to Judge Peter Craven.


The Nineteenth Judicial District Bench–Bar Committee held the third annual Nuts & Bolts CLE on December 8, 2006, at the Weld County Training Facility in Greeley. This year’s event was attended by more than sixty-five people.

The program provides a basic understanding of the substantive and procedural aspects of various areas of the law, including special insight from the judiciary on tips for practicing in the highlighted areas. It is designed for new attorneys or those wishing to learn a new area of law, and provides an excellent opportunity for networking with other members of the Bar and the judiciary.

The panel of presenters included Robert Hopp, the principal drafter of Colorado’s new foreclosure act, as well as several distinguished members of the Weld County Judiciary. The presentations included updates on the Civil Rules of Procedure and statutory changes affecting the criminal Bar, including changes to the Victim’s Rights Act and discussions about maintenance issues in the family law sector. The program highlights were Hopp’s presentation on the changes to Colorado’s foreclosure act, and a keynote lunch address on ethical issues presented by Magistrate John Jostad of the Eighteenth Judicial District. The program was moderated by William Crosier of Greeley.

The 2007 Nuts & Bolts CLE will feature presentations on bankruptcy and immigration. It will be held December 7, 2007; mark your calendars now. Full details about the 2007 program will be coming in August or September. If you would like materials from the 2006 program, or if you are interested in presenting at or attending the 2007 program, please contact program coordinator Jennifer Lynn Peters at Otis Coan & Stewart, LLC: or (970) 330-6700.


A photo appearing in the January 2007 "Bar News" on page 9 was incorrectly captioned as "Hon. L. Thomas Woodford." The caption should read "Joe Pickard, immediate past-president of the First J.D. Bar." The editorial staff apologizes for the error.


The "Highlight" page of Bar News spotlights recent activities and special events around the Bar, and presents brief stories that deal with lawyer activities outside the practice of law or short profiles of estimable individuals. If you would like to share print or digital photos of a recent event; if you would like to "highlight" a colleague; or if your local or specialty bar or legal organization has marked a notable milestone, consider the "Bar News Highlight" as your forum. For more information or to submit an article, contact Leona Martínez at

Sixth Judicial District Access to Justice Committee Produces
"Know Your Rights" Film

by Lynne Sholler

What does a local Access to Justice (ATJ) Committee do to make the legal system more accessible to those who have unmet needs? The Sixth Judicial District (6th J.D.) ATJ Committee in Durango, Colorado produced a twenty-five-minute informational film about the criminal justice system. The film is called "Know Your Rights."


Southwest Colorado has a significant immigrant population. Most of these individuals are from Mexico and speak minimal English. Consequently, Spanish has become the second most-spoken language in the area. Immigrants must assimilate into another culture relatively quickly, and a language barrier can exponentially delay the progress of assimilation. Members of the legal community are concerned that delayed assimilation can make access to the legal system extremely difficult for this immigrant population.

In 2004, the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA) conducted interviews in Durango and determined that criminal defendants—particularly those who do not speak English—do not sufficiently understand court procedures or their legal rights and options. LARASA found that defendants often were confused about the legal process and their duties. For example, many defendants said they do not understand the difference between the role of a public defender and that of a district attorney or how restitution is determined. Defendants expressed concern that interpretation assistance is not provided at the time of arrest and due process rights are not understood when read to them. Some defendants said they were encouraged simply to plead guilty and oftentimes met with their attorney only in the hallway before entering the courtroom.

Educational Resource

The 6th J.D. ATJ Committee produced the "Know Your Rights" documentary to instruct defendants of their basic rights and options. Funding assistance and contributions from the Colorado Bar Foundation, the 6th J.D. Court, several Durango defense lawyers, as well as many local and state organizations helped make the film a reality. David Eckenrode, a Durango filmmaker, was hired to shoot the film.

The film, which is available in English and Spanish, includes the stories of four criminal defendants who have been through the legal system. These defendants explained on camera their personal experiences with the legal system, beginning with their crimes, their arrests, and the reading of their rights, and continuing through their sentences. One defendant was incarcerated; another went through a drug program; a third went to community corrections; the other plea-bargained her sentence and proceeded through the juvenile detention system.

Also featured in the film are three judges, a chief probation officer, and a defense attorney. They provide explanations of the right to remain silent and the right to be represented by counsel; the burden of proof necessary for conviction; the difference between the district attorney, the public defender, and private counsel; and information about drug court, the probation system, restitution, useful public service, what to wear to court, and how to address court personnel.

Film Availability

"Know Your Rights" will be available for viewing in Durango at the La Plata County jail and courthouse; Colorado Legal Services offices; the public library, where a copy is available for checkout; local television stations; Los Compañeros (a local Latino advocacy organization); all local school districts; and the Adult Education Center. The film also has been distributed to other local ATJ Committees around the state. For a nominal fee to cover reproduction and shipping costs, the 6th J.D. ATJ Committee will mail copies of the film.


"Know Your Rights" is a valuable resource whose goal is to demystify the judicial system for defendants and streamline the workload of court clerks, judges, and defense counsel. The film can serve as a tool to help make the court system more accessible to those who find it complex and confusing.

ATJ committees throughout Colorado work to "enhance the access to and quality of justice" for individuals who might encounter obstacles to the civil justice system. To suggest ways to make a difference in your community or to volunteer your services, please contact your local ATJ Committee. For a list of ATJ Committees by district and member contact information, see page 67 of this issue.

Filmmaker David Eckenrode (right) "wires-up" inmate Danny Herrera for film shoot.

Jeremiah Chavez discusses his experience with the drug court system.

David Eckenrode at work filming "Know Your Rights."

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