Legal Issues

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, perhaps the leading voice of uncompromising conservatism on the nation's highest court, was found dead Saturday, Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed. Scalia, who had been staying at a luxury ranch in West Texas, was 79 years old.

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Feb 11, 2016

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Feb 9, 2016

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Dec 10, 2015

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Bente Birkeland/RMCR

The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on whether local cities in Colorado can either ban hydraulic fracturing or declare a moratorium.

The chamber was filled with a who's who in the energy world, from policy experts and state and city officials, to top attorneys and environmental activists, highlighting the importance of the cases.

Pool video/KUSA

The accused gunman in last month's shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic is facing more than 150 separate charges, including multiple counts of first-degree murder. 

57-year-old Robert Dear had a number of outbursts during Wednesday's court appearance, calling himself a "warrior for the babies," and saying he doesn't want a psychological evaluation.

After the proceedings, District Attorney Dan May said he would not comment on the defendant's behavior.  May also said he has time to decide whether or not to seek the death penalty.

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Dec 9, 2015

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Nov 18, 2015

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Nov 4, 2015

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Nov 3, 2015

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  • A man who set off a small explosion near the NAACP office in Colorado Springs earlier this year has been sentenced to five years in federal prison. 44-year-old Thaddeus Murphy pleaded guilty in August to arson under an agreement with prosecutors, saying he was not targeting the nation's oldest civil rights organization.
     
  • It’s Election Day, and so far it appears statewide turnout will be relatively low. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol...

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Oct 21, 2015

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Oct 8, 2015

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El Paso County Commissioners have approved $120,000 to settle claims against former Sheriff Terry Maketa and other department employees.

The county approved $85,000 in a case alleging unfair retaliation after claims of sexual harassment. The other settlement pays $35,000 for allegations of civil rights abuses and a hostile work environment. A portion of the funds will come from the Sheriff's Office while attorney fees will be paid by the county's risk management fund.

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Sep 25, 2015

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Sep 24, 2015

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Tom Koerner/USFWS / Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Interior decided on Tuesday that the greater sage grouse does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The bird spans eleven western states including Colorado, where it lives in pockets along the western slope.  The population is mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state. Governor John Hickenlooper was one of the many people working to avoid a federal listing for the bird.  He sat down with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland to talk about the decision and other initiatives.

Interview Highlights

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Sep 21, 2015

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Sit-Lie Ordinance Gets its Second Public Hearing

Sep 18, 2015
Matt Richmond / KRCC

Colorado Springs City Council is making changes to its controversial sit-lie proposal. The measure would restrict where people can sit and lie down in two of the city's commercial districts.

Officials are now lowering the penalties from possible jail time and a twenty-five hundred dollar fine to just a five hundred dollar fine.

The city hosted the second of two scheduled public meetings on the proposal on Thursday night in Old Colorado City.
 

Colorado's ban on collecting rain from residential rooftops has been a contentious topic at the statehouse, and a proposed bill for 2016 means it will likely be debated once again.

"Colorado is the only western state where rain barrels are illegal," said Drew Beckwith, a water policy manager with the nonprofit Western Resource Advocates.

"Every other western state that has our water laws has them legal, and it has not caused the Earth to come crashing to a halt."

So why is there so much controversy over collecting rainwater? The sticking point is whether doing so impacts downstream water users.

Wednesday Newscast, 9/2/15, 5:32 PM

Sep 2, 2015

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Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Judge Richard Gabriel will soon be sworn in as Colorado's next State Supreme Court Justice. He currently serves on the Colorado Court of Appeals. He received his undergrad degree at Yale University and went to the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. He talked to statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland about his view of politics in the judicial process, why he became a lawyer, and some of his significant cases. 

Highlights from the Interview:

On Criticisms that Judges and Decisions are Too Political

The La Plata County Sheriff's Office is releasing more information in the case of Dylan Redwine, the Monument 13-year-old who disappeared in southwestern Colorado in 2012.  His remains were found less than a year later.

Earlier this summer, the sheriff's office said they had a person of interest.  Investigators are now naming that person as Mark Redwine, Dylan's father.  The county coroner has also amended Dylan's death certificate to reflect "homicide" as the cause of death, as opposed to "undetermined."

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