Category Archives: Opinions and Analysis

CA10: Defect in notice to appear for removal hearing was not jurisdictional

In Lopez-Muñoz v. Barr (opinion by Judge Bacharach), the petitioner argued that her notice of removal was defective because it failed to include the date and time of her immigration hearing (in a footnote, the Court states that she did … Continue reading

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CA10: District court should hold evidentiary hearing to determine whether trial counsel should have offered evidence of the defendant’s intellectual disability in death penalty case

Last week, the Tenth Circuit issued a 95-page opinion in Harris v. Sharp, a death penalty case from Oklahoma. The defendant went to his estranged wife’s workplace and fired gunshots, killing her boss, Merle Taylor. Diana Baldwin had this story … Continue reading

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CA10: Destruction of innocent homeowner’s property by police was not a taking

The Tenth Circuit’s non-precedential opinion in Lech v. Jackson (by Judge Nancy Moritz) has attracted national attention due to the obvious unfairness of the result — city police destroy a home to arrest an armed criminal who barricaded himself there, … Continue reading

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NMCA: Whistleblower who recovered no damages still entitled to attorney’s fees and costs

While employed by the Town of Taos, Joseph Maestas was caught viewing pornography on his work computer, and was fired two weeks later. He then sued the Town under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Although he admitted to viewing pornography on … Continue reading

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CA10: Supreme Court’s decision in Davis announced a new rule that applies retroactively to cases on collateral review

Today the Tenth Circuit published its order in In re Mullins, granting the defendant’s motion to file a second or successive § 2255 motion to challenge his conviction for possession of a firearm during and in relation to a conspiracy … Continue reading

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CA10: Affirmative withdrawal of challenge to presentence report is a waiver

Defendant, Brice Ashton Carter, was convicted of possessing a firearm as a felon. A confidential informant told federal agents that Carter had used two firearms as payment for some methamphetamine. Relying on the informant’s statements, the presentence investigation report applied … Continue reading

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NMCA: Testimony about threatening text did not violate best evidence rule where victim’s phone could not be unlocked

Thomas Stevenson appealed his conviction for shooting into a motor vehicle. He argued that the victim’s nephew’s testimony about a threatening text that Stevenson allegedly sent to the victim was inadmissible under the best evidence rule, because the State should … Continue reading

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CA10: Violence in El Salvador is not, by itself, a basis for asylum

Several years ago, Santos Raul Escobar-Hernandez was attacked by a man named Nelson in El Salvador over some political graffiti near his house, and attacked again even after he removed it. His application for asylum in the United States was … Continue reading

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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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