DLR Online Special Features

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

Events & Announcements

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!

Mar. 5, 2018 - The Denver Law Review will soon be accepting submissions for the 2018 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!

2018 Symposium – Uproar: The Intersection of Animals and the Law

Feb. 9, 2018 - Uproar: The Intersection of Animals and the Law The Denver Law Review  presents its Volume 95 Symposium, Uproar: The Intersection of Animals and the Law. Uproar will explore the relationship between animals and the law.

This event is open to the public. To register for this event, please click here.

Volume 95 Staff Announced

The Denver Law Review is excited to announce the Volume 95 Staff. Please join us in congratulating them in this accomplishment and supporting them in continuing the fine tradition of the Denver Law Review. Please click here to view the masthead.

Please click here to view the photo masthead.

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.


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).

Click to read more ...


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.

Click to read more ...


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.

Click to read more ...


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.

Click to read more ...


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). 

Click to read more ...


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.

Click to read more ...


Weinbaum v. City of Las Cruces

By Joshua Vogel

The Establishment Clause was once again tested in the context of the display of a religious symbol in federal court.  In Weinbaum v. City of Las Cruces, Paul Weinbaum and Martin Boyd, both citizens of the City of Las Cruces (“the City”), alleged violations of their Constitutional rights under the Establishment Clause because the City displays an image of three crosses on city vehicles, in the public school, and on other city-owned property.

Click to read more ...


The Mighty Python of Employment Agreements Tightens Its Squeeze

By Nicholas A. Murray

In “Metals Group,” a recent decision by the Tenth Circuit, the Court upheld the validity of a non-compete agreement, and thus reminded employees everywhere of the power employers can wield over future employment.  Southwest Stainless, LP v. Sappington, D.C. No. 4:07-CV-00334-CVE-FHM (Sept. 21, 2009)

Click to read more ...


United States v. Rhodes

By Rebecca Blake

The Tenth Circuit created a circuit split by its holding in United States v. Rhodes that, despite the Supreme Court’s holding in United States v. Booker, the United States Sentencing Guidelines are still mandatory in §3582(c)(2) resentencing hearings.  Defendant Rhodes was originally sentenced to prison in 1997 for his role in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine.  After the Sentencing Commission amended the crack cocaine-related Sentencing Guidelines in 2007, Rhodes filed a motion pursuant to §3582(c)(2) requesting that the court reconsider his sentence.  Not only did Rhodes ask the court to reduce his sentence to the lower limit of the new guideline range, he also argued that, in light of Booker, the guidelines were advisory, and the court had the ability to reduce his sentence further if it so desired.  The District Court rejected this argument and reduced Rhodes’s sentence to the bottom of the amended guideline range.

Click to read more ...


WildEarth Guardians v. United States Forest Service: Government Representation of Public and Private Interests

By Nicholas Murray

In July 2009, WildEarth Guardians presented the Tenth Circuit with a very familiar set of facts: a group sought to intervene in an ongoing case on the side of the government.  Would-be intervenor, Mountain Coal Company (MCC), owns and operates West Elk coal mine in western Colorado.  Within this large underground mine, MCC owns two viable seams of coal, both of which contain a significant amount of methane gas.  This coal bed methane (CBM) is “toxic to miners” and “could cause an explosion in the mine.”  Because of the substance’s volatility, the permitting process requires that MCC show how it will pump out the CBM.  MCC proposed to use a methane-drainage well to vent the gas out of the mine and into the atmosphere.  Before MCC could begin venting the gas, the United States Forest Service was required to file an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The Forest Service prepared the EIS as required and approved the construction of the ventilation system.  Subsequently, MCC began constructing the system and mining the seam for its resources.

Click to read more ...