Category Archives: Opinions and Analysis

10th Circuit rejects Osage tribal members’ claim that trust accounting should have covered longer time period

In Fletcher v. United States, the Tenth Circuit (in an opinion by Judge Paul Kelly) rejected claims by members of the Osage Tribe of Oklahoma that the district court improperly limited the government’s obligation to perform an accounting of revenues … Continue reading

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NM Supreme Court: Texas doctor’s sovereign immunity will be upheld in medical malpractice case

Yesterday, the New Mexico Supreme Court issued its decision in the closely-watched case of Montaño v. Frezza. The case arose out of medical treatment that a New Mexico resident, Kimberly Montaño, received from a physician at Texas Tech University Hospital … Continue reading

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NM Supreme Court: Probation term does not expire if defendant absconds

When a term of probation expires, it means the defendant has satisfied all criminal liability, and is entitled to a certificate from a court saying so. See NMSA 1978, sec. 31-20-8. The term of probation is tolled, however, if the … Continue reading

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Tenth Circuit upholds lawyer’s conviction for tax evasion

Today the Tenth Circuit upheld a Kansas lawyer’s conviction for tax evasion, rejecting his arguments that insufficient evidence was presented to prove an “affirmative act” designed to conceal or mislead, and insufficient evidence to prove willfulness. Here the defendant named … Continue reading

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NM Supreme Court: Whistleblowers can’t sue state officials in their personal capacities

Former New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera allegedly fired two employees of her office in 2010 for speaking with the FBI, which was investigating her conduct. The employees sued Herrera under the New Mexico Whistleblower Protection Act. Last year, … Continue reading

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NM Supreme Court rejects right to assisted suicide

The New Mexico Supreme Court has issued a unanimous opinion (written by Justice Chavez) in Morris v. Brandenburg rejecting the claim that the New Mexico Constitution creates a right to assisted suicide. Because the plaintiffs based their claim solely on … Continue reading

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NM Supreme Court restricts judges’ use of social media. Did it go too far?

Yesterday the New Mexico Supreme Court issued an opinion in State v. Thomas, reversing a murder conviction because an expert witness for the prosecution testified via Skype, which the Court held violated the Confrontation Clause. But the Court, in an … Continue reading

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Tenth Circuit: Hot dispute over Hatch chile trademark case leads to ruling that documents may be obtained from non-parties without a deposition

It’s an understatement to say that chile peppers are an important part of New Mexico’s cuisine and culture. And, as the Tenth Circuit said last week in El Encanto, Inc. v. Hatch Chile Company, Inc., New Mexico’s “Hatch Valley may … Continue reading

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NM Court of Appeals: Police not immune from loss of consortium claims

In Thompson v. City of Albuquerque, the Court of Appeals has held that the Tort Claims Act does not shield law enforcement officers from loss of consortium claims. The unanimous opinion in this case was written by Judge Michael Bustamante.

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NM Supreme Court: Flat fees for contract public defenders don’t violate right to effective assistance

In the first episode of Better Call Saul‘s first season, Jimmy McGill complains about the $700 paycheck he received for representing three teenagers accused of indecent acts as a New Mexico contract public defender. While that scene was played for … Continue reading

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