Tag Archives: Glenwood

The X Factor for X Games Aspen

The X Games started last night in Aspen. There will be plenty of news on ESPN and the local Aspen papers about the results. What will likely be glossed over, however, are the stories of attendees who get in trouble while they’re here in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Aspen Ice Sign

On one hand, recreational marijuana has changed the legal landscape for those visiting Aspen this year. Undoubtedly, many will flock to the local pot shops as part of the burgeoning marijuana tourism industry. The Aspen Daily News is running a story today about the TSA seizing 36 ounces of marijuana edibles at the airport. It’s a sexy story because it’s new; we typically associate drug busts at airports with Pablo Escobar, cocaine, guns and violent drug lords. One could argue that the new X factor for X Games Aspen is weed.

On the other hand, Aspen law enforcement officers will likely be dealing with incidents related to a different X factor at this year’s X Games: alcohol. Last year there were 114,500 fans at the Winter X Games. Hotels in Aspen will be at max capacity.  Although RFTA is responsive to the demand for transportation down-valley to Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, a number of people will make a poor decision and get behind the wheel after drinking too much. Aspen DUI lawyers will be called to represent those arrested for drinking and driving. I’ve written about DUIs before. It is legal to drink and drive in Colorado – it is a matter of degree. The amount of alcohol consumed, as well as the time between drinks, will be X factors for Aspen DUIs.

In addition to DUIs, there will likely be an increase in assaults in Aspen. Arguments that otherwise would be brushed off by sober people will lead to physical fights and a night in the Pitkin County Jail. Husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, and friends out for a fun night will step over the edge into the criminal world because they’ve had a bit too much to drink. Their judgment will be clouded. They will make a costly mistake. If that mistake involves two people who are or used to be in a romantic relationship, they’ll have to navigate the tricky implications attached to domestic violence. Again, the X factor will likely be alcohol.

Aspen locals will tell you that a disproportionate number of attendees at the Winter X Games are teenagers. Getting away from mom and dad for a party weekend is a right of passage. However, picking up a MIP in Aspen can have significant consequences down the road for college and driving plans. Those charged with a MIP should consult with an Aspen lawyer on the collateral damage from picking up a ticket for underage drinking. Unlike Aspen DUIs or assaults, the amount of alcohol will not be a X factor for a MIP – it is a strict liability offense in Colorado. If a person is under the age of 21, they cannot legally drink alcohol unless a specific exception exists. Officers will request a minor to submit to a portable breath test (PBT) for alcohol.

The Winter X Games is a shot in the arm for the local economy. There is cause for celebrating the extension of the X Games remaining in Aspen through 2019. However, the X factor determining whether a fan visiting Aspen will have a great time watching amazing athletic feats versus spending time in jail and going to court will likely pivot on alcohol. Be safe out there. Be smart. Please drink in moderation. Otherwise you may be calling an Aspen lawyer like me to get you out of a criminal case.

How to Win (and lose) a Trial

I was in trial recently and it’s always helpful for me to write down a few thoughts for future reference. Below are some random musings on how to win or lose a trial.

  1. There is a wart or booger in every case – the bad fact or law that is driving the case to trial. Instead of running away from weaknesses in a dispute, a good trial attorney will directly confront the wart/booger and strategically figure out a way to mitigate its impact. This requires a solid relationship between an attorney and his client. If the client doesn’t trust her attorney, they will revert to their natural inclination to avoid or deny weaknesses in their case. A witness that admits they were wrong in one instance, gains credibility for when they say the booger in their case doesn’t really matter. In contrast, a party that simply ignores or denies the other sides argument will come across as unbelievable, ignorant and selfish.
  2. Controlling the narrative of the case is critical. If a case goes to trial it’s because two or more sides disagree about the key facts and law involved. Each side has a story to tell. Whatever party controls the narrative is more likely to win. If a trial lawyer is able to dictate the issues discussed during trial, it steers the focus away from the wart or booger referenced above. Thinking deeply about the a compelling theme and clearly articulating a party’s story is fundamental in controlling the narrative.
  3. Technology matters. I now use an iPad in every trial or hearing. The TrialPad app has revolutionized how evidence is presented. Using an Apple TV, I wirelessly linked into the court’s audio/video system. It’s a slick setup. With TrialPad, I’m able to blow up documents, highlight key sections, and compare documents side by side. It is engaging, quick and easy. During this most recent trial, the opposing attorney dropped his exhibit notebook twice. Papers went flying everywhere, he exclaimed, “Shit!” which likely made it onto the record, and it was cumbersome for everyone to switch back and forth between paper exhibits. People today expect videos, charts and professional presentations.
  4. Organizing the closing argument first drives everything else. As a DA, I learned the importance of thinking about what I wanted to say in my closing argument and then working backwards. I typically create a basic slideshow (PowerPoint or Keynote) with the applicable law and key evidentiary points.  This process is intertwined with developing a theme and narrative for the case. The evidence I want to bring in – whether it be on direct or cross examination – is driven by my closing argument. My opening statement and theme are driven by my closing argument. Everything is driven by the closing argument. There’s no point in asking a question or introducing a document if it doesn’t support a point made in closing.
  5. Researching legal issues in advance is necessary. The best evidence in a case is usually derived from the other side. Especially for trials to a judge, knowing the applicable law cold is essential. In my recent trial it was evident that the opposing attorney hadn’t done his homework. His client admitted to a number of key things on cross-examination  without understanding the implications. Only after my closing argument did opposing counsel and his client appreciate the significance of a seemingly innocuous admission on cross.
  6. Checklists are helpful. An issue in this trial was attorneys fees. In a divorce, a party may be awarded all or part of their attorneys fees from the other party under C.R.S. 14-10-119. There are necessary elements that must be proved to obtain an award of fees. We were at the end of the trial, everyone was tired, and the opposing Aspen lawyer made a critical mistake – he forgot to ask his client how much fees were owed. Realizing his mistake after he rested his case, the lawyer pleaded for the court to allow him to ask a few more questions. The court allowed him to do so, but stated he was only considering it for a limited purpose. It remains to be seen whether the Aspen attorney made a $50,000+ mistake, but a checklist for what evidence was needed would have likely prevented such a gross oversight.

The above is obviously not an exhaustive list of what it takes to win or lose a trial; each case warrants special consideration. The bottom-line is that trials require a lot of thought and preparation. If a lawyer or party thinks they can “wing it,” they’ll likely be in store for an unpleasant surprise.

Press Release for RKV Law

Dan Reynolds, Ryan Kalamaya, and T.J. Voboril have united to form a law firm that moves mountains for its clients: Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril, LLC. Equipped to serve the needs of the modern mountain community, RKV Law is run by three energetic, experienced, and efficient young lawyers.

DSC_1722

From business disputes to criminal matters to corporate and real estate transactions to divorce proceedings to mediation to HOA counsel and more, RKV Law has arrows in its quiver to handle all manner of pressing legal issues. Not only comprised of highly- awarded lawyers, RKV Law also leverages cutting-edge technology and low overhead to deliver tremendous value to its clients. RKV Law maintains offices in Aspen and Avon and is perfectly positioned to serve its main clientele in Eagle, Garfield, Pitkin, and Summit Counties as well as throughout the high mountains and beyond.

The founding partners of RKV Law have different but complementary areas of expertise, allowing them to take a holistic, team approach to solving legal problems. Dan Reynolds is the firm’s real estate and corporate planning and transactions whiz. Recognized as a Colorado Super Lawyers Rising Star for his work in real estate, Dan is a pragmatic property and business advisor who guides individuals, homeowners’ associations, and all types of commercial entities along the trail to the summit. His calm, reassuring demeanor and wealth of experience makes him an incredible resource for questions ranging from the basic to the fortune-altering.

DSC_1743Dan played basketball at Washington University in St. Louis and earned his J.D. from the University of Oregon Law School. Dan is a pillar of the community, the founder of the Vail Valley Young Professionals Association, and a member of the Eagle River Watershed Council and the Mountain Education Committee, CAI-RMC. An alumni of the Vail Ski Patrol, he previously worked as a deputy district attorney in Eagle County and as an associate attorney at Garfield & Hecht, P.C. Dan lives in Edwards with his wife Amy and two sons, Henry and Luke.

Ryan Kalamaya is the consummate trial lawyer: diligent, smart as a whip, and a force in the courtroom. He specializes in handling cases involving personal issues – divorce, parenting disputes, complex property valuation, criminal charges, and personal injury. Ryan forges deep connections with his clients and has received a number of awards recognizing this talent, including from the legal rating services Martindale-Hubbell and Avvo. He is a leader in the mountain community and legal profession as a board member for the Aspen Young Professional’s Association, a member of the Aspen Public Radio Citizen’s Advisory Board, and as the Treasurer for the Ninth Judicial District Bar Association.

IMG_0016Raised in Longmont, Ryan was a scholarship baseball player at the University of Virginia who returned home to the University of Colorado Law School where he was the President of his class.

He cut his teeth at the Eagle County District Attorney’s Office and as an associate at Garfield & Hecht, P.C. Ryan lives in Carbondale with his new wife Holly and beloved dog, Ruby; the couple is expecting a baby girl in May.

Whether as an advocate in civil litigation and appeals or as a mediator, T.J. Voboril is in the business of resolving disputes. Celebrated as a Colorado Super Lawyers Rising Star for business litigation, T.J. fiercely but compassionately represents people, organizations, and businesses in a wide variety of civil conflicts. He also helps HOAs navigate the tricky waters of governance, management, and collections. Through his company Voice of Reason Dispute Resolution, T.J. provides mediation services to parties in an effort to forestall or end contentious conflicts.

DSC_1625Recognizing a lawyer’s duty to serve the community, he performs pro bono legal and mediation work and is the Sergeant-At-Arms of the Edwards Rotary Club. He also provides legal insights through his bimonthly Open Bar column in the Vail Daily. T.J. obtained his A.B. in Geography from Dartmouth College and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. He firstpracticed large-scale commercial and securities litigation in Atlanta before moving to Colorado and serving as an associate at Mountain Law Group and then joining Thompson, Brownlee & Voboril, LLC as a partner. T.J. lives in Edwards with his wife Lauren and daughter Violet.The triumvirate at Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril, LLC share a deep abiding love for the mountains that they call home and for adventures of all type. When not working together to assist their clients and community or spending time with their families, they can often be found recreating on the slopes, trails, and rivers of the Vail and Roaring Fork Valleys.

Proud to call each other friends and partners, the trio at RKV Law move mountains for their clients. For more information on Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril, LLC, please call (970) 236- 1246, e-mail info@rkvlaw.com, or visit rkvlaw.com.

Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril, LLC

As many know, I recently left Garfield & Hecht, P.C. to open up a new law firm: Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril, LLC (RKV Law). I am extremely excited for the future of RKV Law and look forward to sharing some of my thoughts about how we will move mountains for our clients.

Square-Only

My email address will be ryan@rkvlaw.com. My work number will be 970-812-3437. Our website is now live and can be found at rkvlaw.com. My new office in Aspen is located at the Executive Offices at Aspen Highlands. Our Vail Valley office is located at 82 E. Beaver Creek Blvd. in Avon.

Grandberry Gets Probation

Evance Grandberry, the so-called “kingpin” of the Carbondale drug scene, avoided prison this week. Judge Denise Lynch sentenced Grandberry to 2 years of probation on Wednesday. His plea of guilt likely brings to a close TRIDENT’s undercover drug operation in 2012.

Out of more than 20 people arrested in connection with TRIDENT’s sting in 2012, my client and I were apparently the only ones that went to trial.

Glenwood Murder Suspect Seeking Private Counsel

There’s been an interesting twist in the Glenwood Springs murder case involving Fredy Cabrera. According to unnamed sources, Cabrera no longer qualifies for a public defender. If Cabrera lied about his assets on his application for the PD, that evidence may be admissible at trial under C.R.E. 608(b) if Cabrera testifies. This will be an intriguing story to follow.

Jury Trial in Criminal Case Results in Favorable Outcome

Its been quite some time since I last posted something on this blog. I had a three-day jury trial in Glenwood Springs in late July. The trial resulted in a hung jury because of an unexpected ruling denying the affirmative defense of entrapment. Nevertheless, the jury was stuck at 9-3 for my client before informing the judge that they could not come to a unanimous decision. Based on favorable juror feedback, the matter was resolved through a plea bargain that will likely result in dismissal in a year. The newsworthy case was the subject of a three-part series in the Aspen Daily News.

The fist article is here.

The second article is here.

The third article is here.