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Case Name Colorado Criminal Defense Bar v. Hickenlooper PD-CO-0001
Docket / Court 1:10-cv-02930-JLK ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Case Summary
On December 2, 2010, two non-profit organizations, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition brought this lawsuit under 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a) against the Governor of Colorado, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On December 2, 2010, two non-profit organizations, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition brought this lawsuit under 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a) against the Governor of Colorado, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The plaintiffs, represented by pro bono private counsel, sought a declaratory judgment that Colorado violated the Sixth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendments by deferring the appointment of counsel to indigent defendants. This Colorado practice was due to a 1992 statute which provided that misdemeanor indigent defendants' applications for appointment of counsel "shall be deferred until after the prosecuting attorney has spoken with the defendant." Colo. Rev. Stat. § 16-7-301(4). The plaintiffs argued that the practice of deferring counsel was a violation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rothgery v. Gillespie County where the Court held that the accused is entitled to the presence of appointed counsel during any "critical stage" of criminal trial proceedings. 554 U.S. 191, 212 (2008). Judge John L. Kan was assigned to the case.

On January 31, 2011, the defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that the matter was best resolved in the legislature, not courts. On February 25, 2011, the plaintiffs filed the first amendment complaint, adding as defendants all of the Colorado district attorneys, and the defendants again moved to dismiss. Litigation continued and Judge Kan set a date to hear oral arguments on the motion to dismiss.

The plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint on January 20, 2012, which the defendants again moved to dismiss. The plaintiffs continued to litigate until a team of legislators took on the issue. In the 2013 regular legislative session, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees considered House Bill 13-1210 to repeal the statute. The bill was approved by both Committees, and the Appropriations Committee set aside approximately $8 million to hire additional public defenders to represent indigent clients in these matters. On January 10, 2013 the plaintiffs filed a notice to the court that legislation
was being considered that would moot the issues presented in the case. In May 2013, Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill removing the requirement that misdemeanor defendants confer with a prosecutor before legal counsel is appointed.

The law resolved all the claims in the lawsuit and on May 30, 2013, Judge Kan dismissed the case

Abigail DeHart - 07/07/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Due Process
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Colorado
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are two non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the representation of indigent defendants in Colorado.
Class action status sought No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Legislative Solution
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense
Date: 2011
By: Norman Lefstein (Indiana University--Indianapolis)
Citation: (ABA 2011)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel.
Date: Apr. 14, 2009
By: National Right to Counsel Committee (The Constitution Project)
Citation: National Right to Counsel Committee, Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel (2009)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  The Third Generation of Indigent Defense Litigation
New York University Review of Law and Social Change
Date: 2009
By: Cara Drinan (Columbus School of Law, Catholic University)
Citation: 33 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 427 (2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Indigent Defense Reform: The Role of Systemic Litigation in Operationalizing the Gideon Right to Counsel
Date: May 7, 2007
By: Vidhya K. Reddy (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Remick v. Utah (2016)
By: ACLU of Utah
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:10-cv-02930-JLK (D. Colo.)
PD-CO-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/31/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PD-CO-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/02/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 10]
PD-CO-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/25/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 67]
PD-CO-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/20/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice of All Claims Against Attorney General John W. Suthers and All District Attorneys [ECF# 87]
PD-CO-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kane, John L. Jr. (D. Colo.)
PD-CO-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers DiLalla, Jennifer M. (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-0001 | PD-CO-0001-9000
Franklin, Joshua D. (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-0001 | PD-CO-0001-0002
Kellogg, Ian (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-0003 | PD-CO-0001-0004
Llewellyn, Scott F. (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-0001 | PD-CO-0001-0002 | PD-CO-0001-0003 | PD-CO-0001-0004 | PD-CO-0001-9000
O'Brien, Colin Michael (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-0002 | PD-CO-0001-0003 | PD-CO-0001-0004 | PD-CO-0001-9000
Reilly, Kathryn A. (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-0001 | PD-CO-0001-0002 | PD-CO-0001-0003 | PD-CO-0001-0004 | PD-CO-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barth, John McLain (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-9000
Garnett, Stanley L. (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-9000
Grove, Matthew David (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-9000
Jones, Rebecca Adams (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-9000
Lorenz, Karen Elizabeth (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-9000
Michaels, Lisa Kay (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-9000
Pagliuca, Jeffrey S. (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-9000
Rauchway, Cleo J. (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-9000
Reeve, Henry Richard (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-9000
Zenisek, Christopher C. (Colorado)
PD-CO-0001-9000

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