Author Archives: Emil J. Kiehne

CA10: Use of code words, and time spent with drug dealer, sufficient to support drug convictions

In United States v. Duran (opinion by Judge Bacharach), the Tenth Circuit upheld the defendant’s convictions for drug distribution offenses. The evidence was sufficient, although the government offered no direct evidence the defendant possessed cocaine. In telephone conversations with a … Continue reading

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NMCA issues another opinion on UM/UIM insurance

New Mexico’s appellate courts have issued a long line of decisions dealing with uninsured and underinsured motorist in insurance. In fact, last year I made my own contribution to the genre. This week the Court of Appeals issued another UM/UIM … Continue reading

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Judge Zachary Ives’ campaign website is now up

You can find it here. I have not yet heard whether Judge Ives will face any opposition in the Democratic primary, or any opposition in next year’s general election. But I’ll let you know when I know.

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NMSC: Trial judge properly granted new trial after he had ex parte contact with jury

After a murder trial that involved some confusing jury instructions, the jury appeared to return an inconsistent verdict on one count. Without notifying counsel, the trial judge walked over to the jury room and said “I’m confused about your verdict,” … Continue reading

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NMSC: Defendant need not expressly state “I am guilty” to enter a valid guilty plea

In State v. Yancey, the Supreme Court held, in a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Nakamura, that a criminal defendant need not expressly state “I am guilty” or “I plead guilty” in open court to enter a valid guilty plea. … Continue reading

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CA10: When an appellate decision is split, district courts must keep their eyes on the result

The case of Adlynn and Robert Harte generated widespread attention a couple of years ago. Mr. Harte attracted police attention by visiting a garden store to obtain supplies for growing tomatoes in the family’s basement. (Evidently, people sometimes visit garden … Continue reading

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NMCA: Juvenile “used” BB gun in assault despite not brandishing or referring to it

This case presents an interesting issue of textual interpretation — what does it mean to “use” a weapon? I would not be surprised to see our Supreme Court take up this case: Suspecting that 12-year old Zachariah G. had some … Continue reading

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NMCA: Instructing jury on offense for which the defendant was never charged is fundamental error

The defendant was charged with escape from jail, but the jury was instructed on the separate offense of escape from an inmate-release program. No objection was made. In State v. Grubb (opinion by Chief Judge Monica Zamora), the Court of … Continue reading

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10th Circuit proposes changes to its local rules for 2020

The Tenth Circuit has released its proposed changes to its local rules for 2020, and has invited public feedback on them. The deadline to submit comments is October 25, 2019. The principal proposed changes are as follows, and consist of … Continue reading

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The New Mexico Court of Appeals has changed the way it assigns panels and authorships

In an effort to overcome the present backlog of cases, the Court of Appeals has changed the way it is assigning cases to panels, at least for awhile. In the past, the clerk’s office would assign each judge nine cases … Continue reading

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