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People of Colorado vs. Kurt Riggin: Supreme Court ruling

People of Colorado vs. Kurt Riggin: Supreme Court ruling

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Published by: Nick on May 16, 2011
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07/10/2013

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...
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SUPREMECOURT,STATEOFCOLORADOORIGINALPROCEEDINGINCONTEMPTBEFORE
'.
THEOFFICEOFTHEPRESIDINGDISCIPLINARYUDGE1560BROADWAY,SUITE675DENVER,CO80202
Petitioner:
CaseNumber:THEPEOPLEOFTHESTATEOFCOLORADO
lOSA152
;
Respondent:
KURT
R.
RIGGIN
.
_
...
REPORTOFHEARINGMASTERPURSUANTTOC.R.C.P.239(a)
._,
OnMay18,2010,theOfficeofAttorneyRegulationCounsel("thePeople")filedapetitionforcontemptcitationwiththeColoradoSupremeCourt("SupremeCourt"),allegingKurt
R.
Riggin("Respondent")hadviolatedaJanuary28,2008,orderofinjunctionissuedbytheSupremeCourt.OnAugust25,2010,theSupremeCourtissuedanorderappointingthePresidingDisciplinaryJudge("PDJ")"toactasHearingMaster,tomakefindingsandrecommendationsconcerningRespondent'scontemptofthisCourt'sJanuary28,2008,OrderofInjunction,andconcerningtheappropriatesanctionstherefor."ThePDJissuesthefollowingfindingsoffact,conclusionsoflaw,andrecommendationtotheSupremeCourtpursuanttoC.R.C.P.239(a).
I.SUMMARY
TheSupremeCourtenjoinedRespondentfromthepracticeoflawin2008.In2009,Respondentaccompaniedafriendtoasheriffsdepartmentsubstationtorequestthatthesheriffsdepartmentrefrainfromharassinganacquaintance.Inresponsetoacorporal'squestionwhethereitherofthecomplainantswasalawyer,Respondentsaid,"Iam,I'mafederal...."Hethensaidthathewas"nottheretorepresent"theacquaintance.ThePDJfmdsthatRespondentdidnotviolatetheorderofinjunctionandrecommendsthattheSupremeCourtdismissthePeople'spetitionforcontempt.ThePeople'spetitionisdeficientintworespects.First,thePeoplehavenotdemonstratedthatRespondenthadnoticeoftheSupremeCourt'sorderofinjunctionasofthedateofhisvisittothesheriffssubstation.Second,Respondent'sstatementdidnotconstitutethepracticeoflaw.
 
II.PROCEDURALHISTORY
OnNovember21,2007,thePDJdeterminedthatRespondenthadengagedintheunauthorizedpracticeoflawincasenumber07SA077.
1
ThePDJfoundthatRespondenthadnotbeenlicensedtopracticelawinColorado,yetRespondenthadstatedontherecordinElPasoCountyCourtthathewasamemberoftheFederalBarAssociation.HealsotoldacourtinBoulderCountythatherepresenteddefendantsinconnectionwithdrugmanufacturingchargesandthathisFederalBarnumberwas7604.Further,Respondenttoldadeputydistrictattorneyhehadnotattendedlawschoolbuthadpassedthebarinanundisclosedtribalcourt.OnJanuary28,2008,theSupremeCourtacceptedthePDJ'srecommendationincasenumber07SA077andenteredanorderenjoiningRespondentfromthepracticeoflawin
Colorado.s
OnMay18,2010,KimE.IkelerfiledapetitionforcontemptcitationwiththeSupremeCourtonbehalfofthePeople,allegingRespondenthadviolatedtheSupremeCourt'sorderofinjunction.TheSupremeCourtthenenteredacontemptcitationonJuneI,2010,directingRespondenttoshowcausewhyheshouldnotbeheldincontemptofcourt.»OnAugust25,2010,theSupremeCourtentereditsorderappointingthePDJashearingmaster.ThePDJheldastatusconferenceinthismatteronSeptember24,2010.Mr.IkelerappearedonbehalfofthePeopleandRespondentappearedprose."AcontempthearingwasscheduledtobeginonFebruary22,2011.OnFebruary21,20II,thepartiesinformedthePDJthatRespondent'sbrotherhadpassedawaythatday,andthereforetheysoughtacontinuanceofthehearing.OnFebruary22,2011,thePDJheldastatusconference.Mr.IkelerappearedonbehalfofthePeopleandDavidS.Kaplan,counselforRespondent,appearedbytelephone;Respondentdidnotappear.OnFebruary24,20II,thePDJcontinuedthecontempthearing.
1
Peoplev.Riggin,
ReportRe:UnauthorizedPracticeofLawPursuanttoC.R.C.P.236(a)(O.P.D.J.Nov.21,2007).RespondentfailedtorespondtothePeople'smotionforsummaryjudgmentinthismatter.
2
Ex.2.
3
MarcSchtul,attorneyforRespondent,flledamotiontostayproceedingsonJune28,2010,towhichthePeoplerespondedonJuly14,2010.TheSupremeCourtdeniedthemotiontostayproceedingsonAugust25,2010.OnSeptember21,2010,thePDJandtheSupremeCourtgrantedMarcSchtulandothermembersofhis
firm
permissiontowithdrawfromrepresentationofRespondent.
4
Atthestatusconference,thePDJadvisedRespondentofhisrightspursuanttoC.R.C.P.107(d).ThePDJalsoappointedDavidS.KaplanascounselforRespondent.
2
 
ThePDJconductedacontempthearingonMarch29,2011,duringwhichheheardtestimonyandconsideredthePeople'sexhibits2and3andRespondent'sexhibitA.
5
III.FINDINGSOFFACTANDCONCLUSIONSOFLAW
ThePDJmakesthefollowingfindingsoffactandconclusionsoflaw.
VisittoBaileySheriff'sSubstation
OnOctober15,2009,RespondentaccompaniedhisfriendTimothyTipton("Tipton")totheParkCountySheriffsDepartmentsubstationinBailey,Colorado("Baileysubstation").Tipton,anadvocateforpatientswhousemedicalmarijuana,soughttodiscussaParkCountysheriffdeputy'streatmentofJohnNess("Ness"),aresidentofParkCounty.TiptonwasconcernedthatDeputyHannigan('Hanntgan")washarassingNessbecauseofNess'scultivationanduseofmarijuana.TiptontestifiedthatheaskedRespondentifhewouldliketoaccompanyhimtovisitNess,visittheBaileysubstation,andeat
lunch.f
WhenTiptonandRespondentarrivedattheBaileysubstation,theyweregreetedbyRobinBode("Bode"),anadministrativeassistant.BodetestifiedthatRespondentidentifiedhimselfasanattorneyrepresentingNessandaskedtospeaktoHannigan'ssupervisor.BoderelayedthisinformationtoCorporalDeanMorgan("Morgan"),theon-dutysupervisor,whoagreedtospeakwithRespondentandTipton.BodedidnotmemorializeinwritingRespondent'sstatementregardinghisstatusasanattorney,butshetestifiedthathisstatementwasmemorablebecauseonlytwicehadvisitorstotheBaileysubstationidentifiedthemselvesas
attorneys."
Tipton,incontrast,testifiedthatRespondentdidnottellBodehewasanattorneyforNess.BeforeTiptonandRespondentreachedhisoffice,Morganturnedonavoicerecorder.TiptonthenintroducedhimselfandRespondentandtoldMorganhewasconcernedthatHannigan'svisitstoNesswereexacerbatingNess'spost-traumaticstressdisorder.TiptonallegedthatHanniganhadbeenshiningaspotlightonNess'sresidenceandthreateningto"bust"his
5
ThePDJadmittedexhibit
A,
atranscriptionofarecordedconversation,asanaidforlisteningtotherecordingadmittedasexhibit3,withtheunderstandingthatexhibit3isthebestevidenceconcerningthecontentsoftherecordedconversation.
6
TiptontestifiedthatheknewtheSupremeCourthadenjoinedRespondentfromthepracticeoflawinColorado.AccordingtoTipton,hispurposeinvisitingtheBaileysubstationwasnottopursuealegalstrategy;hadthatbeenhisaim,hewouldhaveconductedhisvisitinthecompanyofanattorneylicensedinColorado.
7
BodealsotestifiedthatsherecalledthemeetingbetweenMorgan,Respondent,andTiptonlastingforanhouroranhourandahalf.Morgan'srecordingofthemeeting,however,showsthatthemeetinglastedlessthansixteenminutes.
3

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