DLR Online Special Features

Please visit here for a list of special feature editions of the DLR Online.

Events & Announcements

Mar. 10, 2019 - The Denver Law Review will soon be accepting submissions for the 2019 Emerging Scholar Award. For details on the award including eligibility, award information, and submission instructions, please review this document. We look forward to reviewing all submissions!

Jan. 9, 2019 - The Denver Law Review is pleased to open registration for our 2019 Symposium, Driven by Data: Empirical Studies in Civil Litigation and Health Law. We have a top-class list of speakers for this year's symposium and we look forward to seeing you there! Register by following this link.

Apr. 4, 2018 - The Denver Law Review is currently accepting submissions for its Recent Developments in the Tenth Circuit issue. For details on the issue and submission instructions, please review this document. We look forward to reviewing all submissions!

Subscriptions and Submissions

For information on how to subscribe to the Denver Law Review, please click here.

For the guidelines on how to submit an article to the Denver Law Review, please click here.


United States v. Johnson

By J. Matthew Soper

In United States v. Johnson, the Tenth Circuit addressed the “novel issue of whether an individual can have a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ in a storage unit rented with a stolen identity.”  The defendant, Johnson, instructed his girlfriend to rent a storage unit so that the he had a place to store his guns.  The girlfriend used a driver’s license from a woman named Haroldsen.  Johnson’s girlfriend went to the storage unit, posing as Haroldsen, and paid for the unit with cash.  Later, police searched the unit without a warrant.  On appeal, the Tenth Circuit held that Johnson did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a storage unit rented with a stolen identity.

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Weise v. Casper: Leave Your Free Speech at the Door

By Nicholas Murray

According to the Tenth Circuit, dissent is un-American when the President of the United States is involved.  In Weise v. Casper, a split Tenth Circuit recently handed down a long-awaited First Amendment case involving the use of a bumper sticker on private property.  Appellants, Leslie Weise and Alex Young appeal the Bivens complaint that was dismissed by the lower court. 

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Brown v. Day

By Lee Fanyo

In Brown v. Day, 555 F.3d 882, 885 (10th Cir. 2009), the Tenth Circuit addressed whether an individual challenge to a state administrative agency’s decision in federal court is the type of state proceeding that requires abstention under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971).  The Tenth Circuit exercised jurisdiction and held that a federal plaintiff's challenge to a state administrative agency’s decision to terminate Medicaid benefits under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is not the type of proceeding entitled to Younger abstention because the ruling would contradict with Congressional intent and misinterpret Supreme Court precedent.

Financing healthcare costs without bankrupting states and the federal government is a critical issue for the entire healthcare system.  States, now more than ever, must find ways to reduce healthcare expenditures. Caught in the crossfire is forty-six year old Dena Brown.  With the mind of a three-year-old child, the state and federal government finance her every day care.  In an apparent turn of fortune, Brown became the beneficiary of a trust worth $68,000.  As a result, the Kansas Health Policy and Finance administrative agency (HPF) terminated Ms. Brown’s benefits because a Kansas statute deemed her trust an “available asset” to pay for her care.  

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United States v. Burgess

By Erin Snow

When the Constitution was written over two hundred years ago, the Industrial Revolution was still decades away, and “state of the art” technologies included butter churners and buggies.  The Founders never could have imagined contemporary technologies such as computers and hard drives, capable of storing the information equivalent of entire libraries within a tiny physical space.  In United States v. Burgess, 576 F.3d 1078 (10th Cir. 2009), the Court considered, but declined to resolve, the extent to which the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures of digital storage devices. 

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Wackerly v. Workman: Better Hand Wins

By Andrea Ahn

In Wackerly v. Workman, the Tenth Circuit upheld a death penalty sentencing finding that Mr. Wackerly had failed to demonstrate “a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.”  Nos. 07-7034 & 07-7056 (10th Cir. Sept. 15, 2009).

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Corder v. Lewis Palmer School District No. 38

By Rachel Kranz

The Tenth Circuit’s recent decision in Corder v. Lewis Palmer School District No. 38 comes three years after Erica Corder delivered a short thirty second speech to her graduating class at Lewis Palmer High School.  As required, Corder presented her speech to the school principal before graduation.  The speech was approved, but its content as presented at the ceremony was quite different.  After speaking about Jesus Christ in her valedictory speech on the day of graduation, Corder was escorted to the vice-principal’s office where she learned that she would have to issue an apology before she could receive her diploma.  Her apology was distributed via email, and she subsequently received her diploma. 

However, Lewis Palmer hadn’t heard the last from Corder.  Soon after, the student brought six claims against her former school district, including: 1) a violation of her First Amendment right to free speech, 2) a violation of the First Amendment in compelled speech, 3) a violation of her right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, 4) violating her First amendment freedom of religion rights, 5) a violation of Colorado Revised Statute § 22-1-120, and 6) a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  The district court dismissed each claim under F.R.C.P. 12(c) for judgment on the pleadings.  The Tenth Circuit reviewed the dismissal de novo, reviewing all of Corder’s six claims, with the exception of the Establishment Clause claim.  The Court affirmed the district court’s ruling on each of the five claims before it.  A petition for certiorari has since been filed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Corder’s behalf.

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Green v. Post

By Adam J. Duerr

On June 16, 2006, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jonathon Post struck and killed Willis Green while speeding through an intersection without his emergency lights or sirens during his pursuit of a vehicle involved in the alleged theft of $30 worth of gas.  In Green v. Post, 573 F.3d 1294 (10th Cir. 2009), Green’s widow and her two children (Plaintiffs) brought suit against Deputy Post, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department, and the County of Pueblo.  Plaintiffs asserted six state law claims and three claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a substantive due process violation under the 14th Amendment.  Defendants moved to dismiss under F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) two state law claims against the Sheriff’s Department in addition to the three § 1983 claims on grounds of qualified immunity.  The district court converted Defendants’ motion to dismiss under F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) to a motion for summary judgment pursuant to F.R.C.P. 56, and it granted summary judgment for Defendants on two state law claims but denied summary judgment as to the § 1983 claims.  The Tenth Circuit, on interlocutory appeal, reversed and remanded the case to the district court for entry of summary judgment in favor of Defendants, entitling Deputy Post to qualified immunity.

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Williams v. Jones

By Ana Gutierrez

In an ordinary Sixth Amendment challenge to plea-bargaining, the defendant typically argues that he did not get a right to fair trial as a result of his deficient counsel.  The problem that arises, and the question that was recently presented to the Tenth Circuit, in Williams v. Jones, No. 06-7103 (10th Cir., July 8, 2009), is what, if any, remedy should be provided for ineffective assistance of counsel during plea bargain negotiations if the defendant was later convicted and sentenced pursuant to a fair trial?  In Williams, the Tenth Circuit upheld the district court’s finding of ineffective assistance of counsel at plea bargaining but reversed the constitutionally imposed remedy and remanded the case for the district court to render a remedy that comes as close as possible to redressing the constitutional violation, and one that is not limited by State law.

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United States v. Challoner: “Dead-Bang Winners” Only

By Andrea Ahn

In United States v. Challoner, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that Challoner’s double jeopardy claim was procedurally barred.  In doing so, the court held Challoner had not demonstrated that his attorney was ineffective in failing to raise the double jeopardy issue on direct appeal and therefore had failed to show cause justifying the procedural default.  No. 08-1335 (10th Cir. Oct. 14, 2009). 

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United States v. Engstrom

By Joshua Austin

The question of whether the Second Amendment is an individual right or reserved only to organized militias has been answered.  District of Columbia. v. Heller held that individual citizens have a right to bear arms for self-defense.  In light of Heller, however, one important question remains: what can the government do to restrict gun rights?  In the short time since Heller numerous suits have been brought to overturn the extensive regulation of firearms.  On a federal level, no case has experienced any measure of success, with one exception.  The Utah Federal District Court in United States v. Engstrum lobbed the first volley against the extensive firearms regulatory scheme devised by Congress.  Engstrum challenged 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9) (2008), which states that no person convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense may be in possession of a firearm.  Defendant Engstrum, an admitted domestic violence misdemeanant, was found by police to be in possession of a weapon as a result of an argument with his girlfriend.  Police were alerted to the presence of the weapon by the girlfriend.  Engstrum acknowledged his possession of the firearm, and surrendered it to authorities upon request.  He was later charged with violating the federal statute.

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