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Summer 2014

In this issue: Summer 2014

Juvenile Law Section 2014–15 Officers

The CBA Juvenile Law Section is pleased to announce its new officers for the 2014–15 year.

Blair McCarthy, Chair
Sarah Felsen, Chair-Elect
Alison Bettenberg, Secretary

The JLS thanks Ashley Ratliff, past Chair, and Betsy Fordyce, past Secretary, for their hard work last year.


Schedule of Future JLS Events

The CLE meetings for the 2014–15 calendar year will be from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on the 2nd Wednesday of each month (*with two exceptions noted below). We are excited to move to this monthly meeting schedule to provide more consistency and additional training opportunities.

All meetings are held at the Colorado Bar Association Office, 1900 Grant Street, 9th Floor, Denver, CO 80203. The meetings are available by audio conference for members who are unable to travel to Denver. To arrange audio conferencing, please contact our CBA Liaison Jill Lafrenz at jlafrenz@cobar.org.

August 27, 2014 at 4:30—Meet and Greet Happy Hour (*Fourth Wednesday)
September 10, 2014 at 4:30
October 8, 2014 at 4:30
November 12, 2014 at 4:30
December 10, 2014 at 4:30
January 14, 2015 at 4:30
February 11, 2015 at 4:30
March 11, 2015 at 4:30
April 10, 2015—Annual Full Day CLE Conference (*Second Friday)
May 13, 2015 at 4:30
June 10, 2015 at 4:30

Please put these dates on your calendar now and send in your RSVP when you get the meeting notice from Jill Lafrenz. Notices about CLE topics, speakers, and any special locations for the meetings will be sent separately by email.


Recent Meetings and Events

April 17, 2014—The JLS sponsored an all-day CLE—“Preserving and Defending Childhood: Working with Trauma Exposed Children and Families Across Juvenile Systems.”

May 14, 2014—The JLS held its Annual Election Meeting and Magistrate Jamin Alabiso presented on “Truancy Court—the past, present and bettering outcomes for the future.”

July 30, 2014—Judge Ann Gail Meinster and Sue Thibault presented the Annual Juvenile Case Law Update.


Other Events of Interest

Many of these conferences offer special discounts for CBA Juvenile Law Section members—Be sure to ask when registering for an event.

August 14, 2014Limiting the ‘Collateral’ Consequences of Juvenile Court: Representing Youth in School Discipline, Expungement, and Deregistration Proceedings, a free CLE hosted by the CJDC and ORC. The CJDC will be hosting pro bono clinics on the topics of (1) school discipline proceedings and (2) expungement and deregistration beginning in the fall of 2014. This CLE will prepare attorneys to advise families and youth at these pro bono clinics. This CLE is free to all attorneys who agree to volunteer for at least one pro bono clinic. Learn more on the CJDC website.

August 18–20, 2014NACC 37th National Child Welfare, Juvenile & Family Law Conference, Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Learn more online.

August 26, 2014Denver Juvenile Court CLE: Children’s Rights in Education with Dani Diercks, and representatives from DPS and DHS. This is a free CLE held in the Jury Room of the Lindsey Courthouse at noon. For more information contact Barbara Bosley, Family Court Facilitator, Denver Juvenile Court (720) 337-0584, Barbara.bosley@judicial.state.co.us.

September 23, 2014Denver Juvenile Court CLE: Presentation on Professionalism.This is a free CLE held in the Jury Room of the Lindsey Courthouse at noon. For more information contact Barbara Bosley, Family Court Facilitator, Denver Juvenile Court (720) 337-0584, Barbara.bosley@judicial.state.co.us.

October 14, 2014Denver Juvenile Court CLE: LGBTQ Youth with Angel Salathe, M. Ed. This is a free CLE held in the Jury Room of the Lindsey Courthouse at noon. For more information contact Barbara Bosley, Family Court Facilitator, Denver Juvenile Court (720) 337-0584, Barbara.bosley@judicial.state.co.us.

November 2014Denver Juvenile Court CLE: Sex Trafficking Victims. This is a free CLE held in the Jury Room of the Lindsey Courthouse at noon. For more information contact Barbara Bosley, Family Court Facilitator, Denver Juvenile Court (720) 337-0584, Barbara.bosley@judicial.state.co.us.


Legislative Subcommittee Report

The Regular Session of the Seventieth General Assembly will convene on January 7, 2015. In an effort to keep our members up-to-date on this year's busy legislative session, Melanie Jordan and Clancy Jo Johnson have agreed to co-chair the Legislative Liaison committee. Information on the session and a bill matrix that you can access on the JLS website will be provided in future newsletters. The JLS extends a very warm welcome to Melanie and Clancy Jo! Also, we give a huge thanks to Sarah Felsen, for serving as the Legislative Liaison for the past two years. Great job Sarah!


The Colorado Lawyer—Juvenile Law Articles and Other Articles of Interest

An article on The Evolution of Colorado’s School Attendance Laws: Moving Toward Prevention and Restoration, written by Jenna Zerylnick, appears in the July 2014 issue of The Colorado Lawyer. July 2014, Vol. 43, No. 7. Read the article online. (Note: You must be logged onto the CBA website to view the article.)

Sheri Danz and Pax Moultrie, both past Chairs of the JLS, are co-editors of the Juvenile Law articles that appear in The Colorado Lawyer. For information about submitting articles please contact Sheri at (303) 860-1517, ext. 102, sheridanz@coloradochildrep.org, or Pax at (303) 636-1100, pmoultrie@arapahoegov.com.


Case Law Update

Please note, Colorado Court of Appeal Summaries and links to the full opinions are available online. Go to cobar.org/opinions, and click on the appropriate case date.

The Court of Appeals summaries are written for the CBA by licensed attorneys Teresa Wilkins (Denver) and Paul Sachs (Steamboat Springs). Please note that the summaries of Opinions of the Colorado Court of Appeals are provided as a service by the CBA, and are not the official language of the Court. The CBA cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the summaries.


2014 CO 64. No. 13SC995. People in Interest of S.N.

Dependency and Neglect Adjudication—Prospective Harm—Summary Judgment.

The Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether summary judgment is ever appropriate in a dependency and neglect adjudication involving prospective harm. The Court held that courts must evaluate whether summary judgment is appropriate in such instances on a case-by-case basis. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded the case to that court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.


2014 CO 65. No. 14SA74. People v. N.A.S.

Juvenile Custody Under Miranda—Voluntariness and Coercion.

In this interlocutory appeal, the People sought review of the trial court’s order suppressing statements of the juvenile defendant. The trial court found that defendant was in custody when he made the statements; that he did not waive his Miranda rights knowingly, voluntarily, or intelligently; and that the statements were involuntary.

The Supreme Court held that, in light of the totality of the circumstances, defendant was not in custody when he made the statements, and he spoke voluntarily. Accordingly, the Court reversed the trial court’s suppression order and remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.


2014 COA 65. No. 11CA2033. People v. Bridges.

Sexual Abuse—Forensic Interview—Credibility—Testimony.

S.B., defendant’s daughter, alleged that he had sexually abused her. At trial, there was no physical evidence that defendant had sexually abused S.B., and the only direct evidence of the abuse was S.B.’s trial testimony and the video of her forensic interview in which she described the abuse. The jury found defendant guilty of one count of sexual assault on a child (no pattern), one count of aggravated incest, and one count of enticement of a child.

On appeal, defendant argued that the court erred by allowing the forensic interviewer to testify that S.B. and A.Q., S.B.’s stepsister, had not been coached in their respective forensic interviews. An interviewer may not usurp the jury’s role of assessing the credibility of a particular witness’s statement by offering an ultimate conclusion about the statement’s truthfulness. Here, the forensic interviewer’s testimony that S.B. and A.Q. had not been coached constituted conclusions about their truthfulness in their respective interviews. This was impermissible opinion testimony about the credibility of another witness’s statement. The court erred by admitting it over defendant’s objection. Because it could not be concluded that admission of this statement did not substantially influence the verdict or impair the fairness of the trial, the judgment of conviction was reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.


2014 COA 68. No. 13CA0940. In re the Petition of R.A.M., for the adoption of B.G.B., and Concerning Creative Adoptions.

Parental Rights—Termination—Due Process—Right to Counsel.

Mother filed a petition to relinquish her parental rights to the child and named father as the only potential father of the child. With her petition for relinquishment, mother also filed a petition to terminate father’s parental rights. Father was served the petition, summons, and notice to terminate in jail. Father responded to the petition by indicating that he did not wish to relinquish his rights. The court proceeded to hearing without advising father of his rights or considering his request for counsel, and began the hearing without father’s presence. After considering the matter, the court found by clear and convincing evidence that father was the child’s parent. The court agreed with the adoption agency’s interpretation of the relinquishment statute and found that the law required that father be able to assume legal and physical custody of the child “at the time of the hearing.” Because father was incarcerated and thus unable to assume legal and physical custody of the child that day, the court granted the petition and terminated father’s rights.

On appeal, father contended that the trial court violated his due process rights when it failed to appoint counsel for him at the termination hearing. The Court of Appeals agreed. First, father sufficiently expressed his desire for the assistance of counsel. Also, father had an important interest, the state’s interest was not weak, and the risk of error in this case was extremely high. Before the hearing, neither the petition to terminate his rights, nor the notice to terminate his rights or the summons advised father of the allegation to be proven at the hearing: that he cannot personally assume legal and physical custody of the child, taking into account the child’s age, needs, and individual circumstances. Therefore, taking into consideration all of these factors, father had a due process right to counsel. The court’s order denying father’s CRCP 60(b)(3) motion was reversed, the judgment terminating his parent–child legal relationship was vacated, and the case was remanded.


2014 COA 58. No. 10CA0414. People v. Stroud.

Child Abuse—Expert Witness Funding—Indigency—“Admission”—Dependency and Neglect Testimony—Effective Representation—Consecutive Sentences—Presentence Confinement Credit.

This appeal arises from allegations of child abuse concerning defendant’s 11-week-old daughter, R.S., and his stepchildren, C.H. and S.H. The judgment was affirmed.

On appeal, Stroud contended that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion for funds to hire an expert. Here, Stroud was eligible for a court-funded expert because he was indigent and represented by a private attorney who began representing him on a pro bono basis. Thus, the trial court should have provided him expert witness funding without an initial determination of indigency by the Public Defender’s Office. Although the trial court abused its discretion, however, the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, because Stroud did not establish that an expert was necessary and there was overwhelming evidence of his guilt.

Stroud also contended that the trial court erroneously admitted his testimony from a previous dependency and neglect case. An “admission” under CRS § 19-3-207(3) only refers to a parent’s formal admission or denial of the allegations in a petition. It does not preclude admissions made during testimony in a dependency and neglect case in a subsequent criminal case. Therefore, the trial court did not err in admitting Stroud’s testimony from his dependency and neglect case.

Next, Stroud argued that his convictions for child abuse should have been reversed because his trial counsel labored under an actual conflict of interest that denied him effective assistance of counsel. Here, the absence of expert testimony did not undermine defense counsel’s representation. Further, the record refutes Stroud’s argument that his trial counsel did not vigorously contest the prosecution’s evidence. Accordingly, there was no actual conflict of interest that adversely affected defense counsel’s performance.

Finally, Stroud contended that the trial court did not make specific findings of fact to justify its imposition of consecutive sentences for his misdemeanor and felony convictions, and that the trial court erroneously denied him presentence confinement credit. Here, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in imposing consecutive sentences after considering the nature of the offense, Stroud’s character and rehabilitative potential, his respect for the law, the deterrence of crime, and protection of the public. Further, the court did not abuse its discretion in applying Stroud’s credit for presentence confinement to his misdemeanor sentence rather than his felony sentence.


Summer Newsletter

The FALL 2014 Newsletter is scheduled to go out by September 21, 2014. The deadline for submitting cases, articles and events is September 14, 2014. Please send any submission requests to sthibault@co.clear-creek.co.us, or call (303) 679-2432 (phone) or by fax at (303) 679-2444.


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