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Legal Lasso: Hick Creates Task Force To Calm Oil & Gas Troubled Waters

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IT’S ABOUT TIME (OR SO IT SEEMS): Amidst all of the fracking discussions across the front range, Gov. Hickenlooper announced that he’s creating an oil and gas task force to deal with some of the conflict between local governments and state officials, reports the Denver Business Journal. Tensions between the two levels of government have risen in recent months as the spectre of drilling rigs in urban and suburban areas — rigs probing for oil locked in Colorado’s Niobrara formation — has spurred local officials to draft new land use regulations focused on the industry.

PROSECUTORS REST IN PERRISH COX CASE TODAY. The Denver Broncos cornerback, who is on trial in Castle Rock for sex assault charges, will decide today whether he will testify.

ADDING ONE: Scott Gessler tapped former Littleton City Attorney Suzanne Staiert as his new deputy secretary of state, reports the Denver Post. Staiert most recently worked as an associate municipal judge for the city of Centennial. She also has been assistant county attorney for Arapahoe County, an associate judge for Aurora and Centennial municipal courts and assistant city attorney for the city of Aurora. She was selected out of a pool of almost 70 applicants, who were screened by a committee that included Hobbs, former Sen. Hank Brown and Gessler’s former law partner, Jim Hackstaff. Like Gessler, Staiert is a registered Republican.

WELL THAT COST A PRETTY PENNY: Efforts to add a ballot initiative that would legalize possession of marijuana in the state cost more than $200,000, the Denver Post reports. The campaign behind the initiative has spent more than $200,000 so far on the effort, including at least $183,000 on signature-gathering alone, according to an analysis of the campaign’s finance reports. Those amounts cover a period ending in January and will grow when the campaign releases its next report, due in May.

ALSO COSTING A PRETTY PENNY, COLLEGE EDUCATION: From community colleges to four-year institutions, many Colorado students have left school lugging a heavier financial burden than they did five years ago, reports the Denver Post. About two-thirds of them graduated with student- loan debt, with the average 2011 bachelor’s degree recipient owing $23,662, according to the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

WHO DOESN’T WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PIRATES? Please join the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, in collaboration with NGO Oceans Beyond Piracy, for an evening panel discussing the legal and policy implications of maritime piracy in Somalia and across the world’s oceans. Panelists include Ms. Donna Hopkins, Coordinator for Counter Piracy and Maritime Security, Bureau of Political Military Affairs, at the U.S. State Department; Sir James Burnell-Nugent KCB, CBE, ADC, former Commander-in-Chief Fleet of the Royal Navy; Commander Kimberlie Young, Legal Advisor to the NATO’s Allied Command Transformation; and Dr. Swadesh Rana, Oceans Beyond Piracy India Program Adviser and Focal Point for South Asia.   For more information about the event or to RSVP, please contact Karlyn K. Shorb at or 303-871-6655.

HE’S BRINGING SEXY TO A RESTAURANT NEAR YOU: The DBJ had this tidbit about a Justin Timberlake investment: A Denver franchise opportunity for Southern Hospitality, a restaurant concept co-created by Justin Timberlake, will be presented at an upcoming investment conference in Colorado Springs, organizers say. The franchise opportunity will be presented at the “Spring 2012 Micro Cap Investment Conference” on March 15-16 at The Broadmoor, according to the conference’s organizer, Accredited Members Inc., a Colorado Springs-based investment research company.

AN HONOR SHE DESERVES: C. Jean Stewart, the former probate judge, is being honored by the Colorado Women’s Bar Association tonight at their annual judicial reception. The CWBA Judicial Reception honoring C. Jean Stewart and all members of the Colorado judiciary will take place from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP. Contact the CWBA office with questions: 303-831-1040 or

NETWORKING, SCHMETWORKING: Young lawyers and those interested in sharpening their networking skills are invited to join Law Week Colorado and Barefoot on the Town’s Sarah Hogan and Cori Plotkin for a fun evening filled with tips and tricks for better networking at cocktail parties, dinners and other social gatherings.

A FEW LEAP YEAR BIRTHDAY STORIES FOR YOU (yes, late): Twins in Fort Collins, who celebrated their first yesterday. And this mother, daughter beat one in two million odds to share a Leap Year birthday.

PLEASE NOTE: All of the Circuit Media websites will be undergoing maintenance this weekend, as we change webhosting services.  You might experience a delay or an interruption in service. This WILL NOT affect the State Bill subscription service. Thank you for your patience.

TEMPERS ARE GETTING TESTY in the Colorado Legislature as the session nears its midway point, and it turned out to be a wacky Wednesday in the state House during routine voting for bills, AP’s Ivan Moreno reports. Lawmakers from both parties have picked up on the sour mood, with House leaders planning a friendly bipartisan dinner meeting to discuss ways to soothe rancor.


TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENTS from the Colorado Court of Appeals


CHECK OUT NEXT WEEK’S PAPER for our in-depth interview with U.S. Attorney John Walsh, who talked shop with Law Week’s newest edition, James Carlson.

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