COLORADO SUPREME COURT
January 14, 2019
2019 CO 1. No. 17SC33. State v. Medved.
Conservation Easement Tax Credits—Statute of Limitations.
The Supreme Court held that the statute of limitations period within which the Colorado Department of Revenue (the Department) may invalidate a conservation easement (CE) tax credit begins when the CE donor first claims the CE tax credit.
In this case, the transferees of a portion of CE tax credit claimed the credit before the donor/ transferor did. The Department later disallowed the credit in its entirety. The transferees argued that the statute of limitations period began when they claimed the credit and that the Department disallowed the credit too late. The Department asserted, in accordance with its regulation, that the period began when the donor/transferor claimed the credit and that the disallowance occurred before the period expired.
CRS § 39-22-522(7)(i) states that the CE donor shall "represent and bind the transferees with respect to . . . the statute of limitations." Based on the plain language of the statute, the Court concluded that the statute of limitations period begins only when the CE donor first claims the CE tax credit. Thus, the limitations period here had not expired when the Department disallowed the claimed credit. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
2019 CO 2. No. 18SA180. People v. Burnett.
Searches and Seizures—Reasonable Suspicion— Mistake of Law.
In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court considered whether a Colorado State Patrol trooper made a reasonable mistake of law when the trooper stopped a car for making what he believed to be an illegal lane change after witnessing the driver flash her turn signal twice over a distance of less than 200 feet and then change lanes. The Court held that the trooper's erroneous interpretation of the governing statute, CRS § 42-4-903, did not constitute an objectively reasonable mistake of law. It is plain from the text of the statute that a driver is not required to signal continuously for any set distance before changing lanes on a highway; the statute only requires that a driver use a signal before changing lanes. Thus, because this was not a reasonable mistake of law, the trooper did not have reasonable suspicion to justify the investigatory stop. The Court therefore affirmed the trial court's suppression order.
2019 CO 3. No. 17SC297. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission v. Martinez.
Administrative Law and Procedure—Mines and Minerals.
This case required the Court to decide whether, in accordance with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act (the Act), CRS § 34-60-102(1)(a)(I), the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (the Commission) properly declined to engage in rule making to consider a rule proposed by respondents.
Respondents proposed a rule that, among other things, would have precluded the Commission from issuing any permits for the drilling of an oil and gas well "unless the best...