Court Opinions for June 11

Colorado Supreme Court

In re People v. Shank

Alyse Shank was charged with three drug offenses, including alleged distribution. Shank was appointed a public defender. Later, the state brought a civil forfeiture action related to the criminal charges. Shank’s appointed public defender tried to represent her in the civil forfeiture proceedings. The state tried to disqualify the public defender, saying they were out of their jurisdiction.

This case raises the question if, in a civil forfeiture case, an indigent person can be represented by a public defender. Shank’s argument is that the statute that allows a public defender to represent indigent people in criminal proceedings contains a general grant of authority to represent a person in any proceedings when the public defender deems representing the indigent person is in the interest of justice. The court rules that the referenced statute gives public defenders the ability to be involved in civil forfeiture cases.

Colorow Health Care v. Fischer

Charlotte Fischer was admitted to a nursing home where she was given many forms that her daughter signed on her behalf. Included in these forms was one regarding arbitration of certain legal disputes. The Health Care Availability Act mandates that such agreements must have a four-paragraph notice with at least 10-point font and bold lettering. In this case the notice was in 12-point font but was not bolded.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the June 18, 2018 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.