Latest from SCOV Law

Doggie Freakout Devices Green Mountain Fireworks v. Colchester, 2020 VT 64 By Elizabeth Kruska   Unpopular take: I don’t especially like fireworks. I never really understood them. I often went to see them on the Fourth of July with friends who liked them, so I’d go because they were going, not because I especially wanted to see the fireworks. (Sidenote: remember going places with friends? That was nice.) I know, however, that there are a…
Easement? I don’t need no stinkin’ easement Knaresborough Enterprises, LTD v. Dizazzo, 2021 VT 1 By Andy Delaney There’s nothing like lake access to get neighbors’ hackles up. This opinion hails from the shores of Lake Champlain.   Plaintiff’s predecessor-in-interest had granted defendants’ predecessor-in-interest an easement for access to a beach on plaintiff’s property. Plaintiff wasn’t thrilled with the situation and filed a declaratory judgment action in the civil division to determine the extent of what rights,…
Flowery, Like the Idiom In re H.H., 2020 VT 107 By Elizabeth Kruska This opinion contains a cheeky British idiom I’d never heard before: “comes a cropper.” It means “to suffer a misfortune or to fail.” An American analogue would be “falls apart” or “goes sideways.” Spoiler alert: the State’s argument did all of that in this case, so the matter gets reversed and remanded to the Human Services Board for further hearing.  When a…
Government Surveillance Drones Peralta v. Brannan, 2020 VT 100 By Elizabeth Kruska Vermont has a fairly new statute that is often referred to as the de facto parentage statute. Boiled way down, it’s a way for someone who is not a biological parent to attain a legally recognized status of a child as a parent. It’s a change recognizing that families aren’t necessarily as easily defined as birth parents and birth children. This doesn’t mean…
Lion? Lyin’? State v. Billington, 2020 VT 78  By Andrew Delaney   Will concealing one’s HIV status be enough to sustain a charge of aggravated sexual assault? Read on to find out.   I want to say something like, “Kids, don’t read this one,” but as a kid I used to look for those “Parental Advisory” stickers to determine what albums to purchase. See, back in the day, there were these things called “record…
You know what to do.  State v. Brunetta, 2020 VT 109  By Jacob Oblak Here’s a story everyone has probably heard before. A police officer stops a driver for a small traffic infraction, like not using a blinker while turning, and then the driver gets arrested for DUI―pretty common scenario. What I bet you didn’t know is that Vermont’s traffic law about signaling turns allows a second method of signaling your turn: hand signals.…
Overused Obligatory Image By Andy Delaney Two opinions yesterday. I used to do some family law. One thing I never fully understood was the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act aka the UCCJEA. That’s not going to change today. In  our first November 20 case, biological dad argues that his Alabama custody order giving him sole custody trumps Vermont’s order giving DCF custody of his child. Without getting too far into the weeds, Vermont’s…
At some point, we’re going to have to pay royalties for this photo By Andy Delaney Just a handful of opinions over the past few weeks.  On October 19, SCOV issued an entry order. Defendant was charged with aggravated assault, burglary, and a handful of other charges stemming from a serious attack and follow-up threats to his victim’s mother (and police). The trial court held him without bail, both initially and after an evidentiary hearing. Defendant…
Sixties . . . Sixty . . . Get it?  State v. Downing, 2020 VT 97 &State v. Downing, 2020 VT 101 By Elizabeth Kruska  I teach a class at Vermont Law School about adjudication of criminal cases. We start with bail, since bail is one of the first things that happens in a criminal case. Bail is often somewhat misunderstood. The point of bail is to ensure a defendant’s appearance at future court…
Try to find a better image for this set of facts. Wait, don’t. Trust me. Lanfear v. Ruggerio and Fennimore, 2020 VT 84 By: Jacob Oblak   It’s 2020, and polyamory has arrived at the Supreme Court of Vermont (to be painstakingly clear, the issue has arrived at the SCOV). The combination of recently-updated parentage laws and modern polyamorous relationships creates rather interesting, novel problems for trial courts. This is a case in point. Side note:…