Legal Issues

The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association is going to court to try and put the brakes on regulations that will require all new cars sold in the state to run cleaner and with better gas mileage by 2025.

The state's Air Quality Control Commission voted unanimously in November to adopt the stronger emission rules, which come with a mandate that new cars average 36 miles per gallon.

The federal judge in Texas who ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional earlier this month said that the law can remain in effect while under appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor wrote in his ruling filed on Sunday that "many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal."

Pueblo Police Department

The new legal marijuana industry is generating billions of dollars and creating thousands of jobs, but it's also creating instability, restructuring and some layoffs for one group of workers - drug detection dogs. 

Updated at 9:47 a.m. ET

Each new dawn seems to bring a major new headline in the Russia investigation, including a number of important courtroom developments this month.

Here's what you need to know about what has happened so far this week in this often complex and fast-moving saga.

Michael Cohen is going to prison, but he says he isn't finished yet

David Shankbone

A Colorado District Judge has ruled it is unconstitutional to detain inmates purely on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Similar cases have been argued throughout our region.

Updated April 12, 2019, at 9:12 p.m. ET

The parents sat stiffly; some had clearly been crying. Their children, largely oblivious, scribbled with crayons on the carpeted floor of a Denver immigration court. In a matter of months, the judge before them will make 71 life-changing decisions.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice instructed ten immigration courts around the country to speed up cases of families seeking asylum on U.S. soil. In Denver, that directive is being carried out in a series of group hearings, designed to decide cases in less than a year.

The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court on Friday to bypass lower courts and rule quickly on its ban of most transgender military members.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / Pixabay

If you own mineral rights to a piece of private property and an important dinosaur fossil is discovered there, do you own the fossil? A federal district court just ruled you do. 

Two Mountain West states are part of a dozen across the country that allow people to select non-binary gender on legal documents.

Colorado residents, who do not identify as male or female, will be able to choose "X" as their gender on driver's licenses starting on Nov. 30.

"It's really important that Colorado is now allowing another opportunity for male, female and non-binary -- people who identify as neither male or female -- to also have an identity document who matches who they are," said Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado, an LGBTQ advocacy organization.

After nearly a century of prohibition, Canada became the first major economy this week to legalize recreational marijuana (though Uruguay was the first in 2013), and it has U.S. companies lining up.

A Texas federal judge just has declared unconstitutional a decades-old law that aims to keep Native American children within their own communities.

There’s good news for hemp growers across the U.S. who are preparing for harvest. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration removed some cannabidiol, or CBD, from the most restrictive class on Thursday, allowing for the first cannabis-derived pharmaceutical to be sold in U.S. markets.

As the Senate remains in a pitched battle over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court on Monday will begin its new term with far less fanfare.

The high court is launching its nine-month term evenly divided — with four conservative and four liberal justices — as an F.B.I. investigation into sexual misconduct allegations lodged against Kavanaugh delays a full Senate vote on the nomination. Kavanaugh was nominated to fill the vacancy created by the retirement this past summer of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who often cast the pivotal swing vote on cases.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

The Colorado Supreme Court won’t hear a lawsuit over a controversial land exchange between the Broadmoor Hotel and the City of Colorado Springs. Plaintiffs say it may be the end of their years-long fight over a parcel of parkland called Strawberry Fields.

A federal judge has restored Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears living around Yellowstone National Park.

In his ruling, U.S. district court judge Dana Christensen said the federal government didn’t use the best available science when it removed the bears from the threatened species list last year.

California lawmakers have approved a measure requiring prosecutors to expunge convictions or reduce sentences for many marijuana-related convictions dating back decades. The bill is now awaiting a signature from Gov. Jerry Brown, according to The Associated Press.

Updated at 2:13 p.m. ET

Court documents unsealed on Thursday reveal that a single holdout on the jury prevented Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort from being convicted of all 18 charges facing him this week.

Jurors concluded that Manafort was guilty of eight counts in the case. The newly revealed jury verdict form has handwritten notes of "no consensus 11 to 1" on the other 10.

Updated at 12:24 p.m. ET

Fox & Friends was the natural venue for President Trump to strike back against Michael Cohen. The former self-described "fixer" for Trump had said under oath, before a federal judge, that he and Trump had violated the campaign finance law together.

The problem was the hush payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn actress Stormy Daniels. During the campaign, each had taken a six-figure payment that kept their claimed affairs with Trump out of the public eye.

Milan Suvajac / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Some residents of Manitou Springs have filed a lawsuit against the city over a proposed deal to repair and reopen the Cog Railway. The suit argues residents should have the opportunity to vote on the proposal.

In a split-screen whiplash, a regular Tuesday turned into a blockbuster, with two top people close to President Trump now facing prison.

First, it was Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, found guilty of tax evasion and bank fraud by a jury in Virginia. Minutes later, in New York, it was Trump's longtime former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, pleading guilty to tax evasion, falsifying submissions to a bank and campaign finance violations.

Updated at 7:03 p.m. ET

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, has pleaded guilty to eight counts in federal court in New York, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday evening.

They include five counts of tax evasion, one count of falsifying submissions to a bank and two counts involving unlawful campaign contributions.

Updated at 6:26 p.m. ET

A federal jury on Tuesday found Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, guilty on eight of the 18 charges he faced in his tax and bank fraud trial.

The verdict delivered a painful fall from grace for a top political operative who has advised presidents from Gerald Ford to Donald Trump and a shot in the arm to an investigation derided by President Trump as a "witch hunt."

Pesticides are all over, from backyard gardens to cornfields. While their use doesn’t appear to be slowing, concern over drift and the resulting effects on health is driving research — and more worries.

Those concerns are bringing pesticides to a different venue: courtrooms. 

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

 

El Paso County’s Board of Commissioners approved a settlement with the ACLU of Colorado at its regular meeting Tuesday morning. The suit was filed on behalf of a woman held in jail for nearly a month because she couldn’t pay a $55 administrative fee.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Migrants detained in recent months at the U.S.-Mexico border describe being held in Customs and Border Protection facilities that are unsanitary and overcrowded, receiving largely inedible food and being forced to drink foul-smelling drinking water.

Documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in California and viewed by NPR late Tuesday contain interviews with some 200 individuals detained under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, many of whom related poor conditions at the centers.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

Justice Anthony Kennedy announced Wednesday he would be retiring from the Supreme Court. With him go his three decades of experience on the bench and, more politically pressing, his moderate legal philosophy.

It was this centrist streak that made his vote the key in many deeply divisive cases — so many, in fact, that Kennedy earned himself a reputation as the court's quintessential "swing vote."

Dave Parker / Flickr, Creative Commons

Protests and blockades of clinics that perform abortions are up dramatically around the nation, including Colorado, the first state in the union to pass a law legalizing abortion more than fifty years ago.  

In the summer of 2012, fiancés David Mullins and Charlie Craig tried to order a wedding cake from a shop in a Denver suburb. The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to serve the same-sex couple because of his Christian beliefs. Now, the Supreme Court has sided with the baker, but not for the reason you might expect.

Mike McBride / Flickr-Creative Commons

Colorado's juvenile justice system will undergo a comprehensive review over the next six months. The goal is to bolster efforts to help keep youth out of the system as well as improve outcomes for those already in it.

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