Archive for the ‘ Sex Crimes ’ Category

Colorado’s Revenge Porn Laws

Posted on: October 16, 2017 by in Sex Crimes
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Could you be a victim of “revenge” porn? Is there a specific law against revenge porn here in Colorado? How much legal protection do victims have? And what if you are accused of posting revenge porn in the state of Colorado? What does it require to convict someone for posting revenge porn, and what criminal penalties will a convicted offender face?

It’s a growing concern everywhere. Revenge porn has been banned by the military, Facebook is fighting it, and revenge porn cases are flooding both the civil and criminal courts. And it can happen to anyone – actresses, other celebrities, and apparently in Colorado, scores of innocent, regular people too. Since this state’s revenge porn statute took effect three years ago, 192 misdemeanor revenge porn charges have been filed by Colorado prosecutors.

However, according to the Denver Post, only about one-third of those revenge porn charges – about 36 percent – resulted in convictions. In some cases, charges were dismissed, and in other cases, defendants were offered and accepted plea bargains. Denver District Attorney Beth McCann voted in favor of the law as a legislator back in 2014. She says, “Dismissals are unusual, but a vast majority of our cases will end up in plea agreements.”

WHY ARE REVENGE PORN CASES TOUGH TO PROVE?

Why are there so many plea agreements in revenge porn cases? A revenge porn charge is always difficult to prove, and the Colorado law – according to some observers – is a particularly weak statute. When revenge porn is posted online, proving who posted it sometimes cannot be done. It’s often simply one person’s word against another person’s; establishing proof beyond a reasonable doubt may be impossible.

Does the new law, then, offer victims of revenge porn any genuine legal protections at all? Not in some cases, while in other scenarios, the law really is not precise or comprehensive. It does not, for example, extend to photographs or videos of someone who is wearing clothes, even if that person is engaged in a sexual act.

And even if a perpetrator who posts revenge porn is identified, that doesn’t necessarily mean the material is erased from the internet. A victim of revenge porn may have to obtain a court order which compels websites to remove the revenge porn material. The sad reality, however, is that some items may be so extensively copied or “mirrored” online that they are never really, fully, entirely removed from the internet.

IS REVENGE PORN WIDESPREAD? HOW ARE LAWMAKERS RESPONDING?

According to the non-profit Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, one in eight users of social media has been victimized by nonconsensual pornography. In 2016, federal legislation to criminalize the distribution of explicit images of someone without that person’s permission was introduced in the House of Representatives and is now being considered by the House Judiciary Committee. Some type of revenge porn law, however, is already on the books in 38 of the 50 states.

The lack of assured anonymity for alleged victims is a major concern for the critics of Colorado’s revenge porn law. Even when a revenge porn victim is not named in the court documents, there may be enough facts in those documents – which must identify a defendant – to point to a particular victim.

In fact, some Colorado attorneys who represent alleged revenge porn victims are bypassing the criminal statute entirely and are instead suing the alleged perpetrators in Colorado’s civil courts – for violation of privacy or for defamation of character. Nevertheless, while the Colorado revenge porn statute may be considered “weak” by some, of the 117 cases that have been resolved since the law took effect, 42 have ended with a conviction or a guilty plea.

HOW CAN A DEFENSE ATTORNEY HELP?

If you are accused of posting revenge porn in Colorado – or charged with any crime related to pornography and the internet – arrange at once to speak with an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney. It is imperative to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer advising you, protecting your rights, and fighting for justice on your behalf as early as possible.

The 2014 Colorado law makes it a Class One misdemeanor to publish explicit images of someone without that person’s consent. In addition to any other sentence the court may deem proper, upon conviction the defendant shall be fined up to $10,000. Someone who has been the victim of revenge porn in Colorado may also bring a civil lawsuit against the person who posted the images.

If you are charged in a revenge porn case in Colorado, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney advocating on your behalf. It is possible, for example, that another person may have posted the revenge porn from your own computer or even from some other device without your consent or knowledge.

WHAT ARE THE OTHER DEFENSES AGAINST A REVENGE PORN CHARGE?

If law enforcement officers violated your rights while gathering evidence to build a revenge porn case against you, that charge can probably be dismissed. Sometimes a revenge porn allegation is simply the result of a mistake or a misunderstanding, with no criminal intent. Even so, if you are the defendant, you’ll need to have an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney handle your case, protect your rights, and if necessary, defend you against the charge in a criminal trial.

Colorado is not the only state where some have contended that revenge porn laws are ambiguously written and difficult to enforce. Arizona’s law, for instance, was characterized by the American Civil Liberties Union as an unconstitutional imposition on free speech. Prosecutors feel their hands are somewhat tied, since the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996 prohibits any prosecution of website owners for third-party content.

If you are accused of an online crime – whether it’s revenge porn, child porn, a financial crime, or some other computer-related misdemeanor or felony, seek legal help at once. Innocent people are sometimes confused or cajoled into clicking a link they shouldn’t click, and they can end up technically committing a crime without even realizing it.

Here in Colorado, if you are charged with any misdemeanor or felony related to revenge porn, computers, or the internet, retain the advice and services of an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney at once. Don’t take any chances with your reputation, your record, and your future.

More Persons Challenge Sex Registry Laws

Posted on: January 28, 2015 by in Sex Crimes
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Denver sex crimes defense lawyers

It’s safe to say that sex offenses are some of the most reviled times. There are few categories of crimes in which a person who is accused of the crime, is simply seen as guilty. Certain types of sex crimes can result in stringent punishments that can completely alter the person’s ability to live a normal life, possibly permanently. Offenders can be required to live out the rest of their lives as part of a national registry, which is very often publicly accessible. Registration in a sex offender registry is part of the penalty, for many types of sex crimes.

However, more and more persons are now challenging their inclusion in sex offender registries, which in most cases is permanent. Even when a conviction has occurred decades earlier, a person could continue to face the repercussions of the offense for many years later. Under Megan’s Law, Colorado authorities are required to provide the public information about any persons convicted of sex offenses, so anyone can access your information at any time. Registration in a sex offender registry can impact your ability to go to school, get a job, and your ability to marry, settle down and have children. It can affect your ability to live in the neighborhood of your choice, and your social and interpersonal relationships.

In Colorado, persons who are convicted of certain sex offenses, including Unlawful Sexual Contact or sex crimes involving minors are required to register in a sex offender registry. Other crimes that could land you on the sex offender registry include luring or enticing a child, sexual assault, incest, indecent exposure, and soliciting for child prostitution. The registry contains information about the person’s name, address, and the offense as well as photographs and aliases. If you are told to register but fail to do so, you face harsh consequences that could include jail time and fines. Persons on the sex offender registry are also responsible for keeping their information updated over time, and face consequences if they fail to do so. For example, if you move homes, you will need to update your address on the registry as soon as possible to avoid consequences.

However, increasingly, a number of criminologists, lawyers, and sex offender registrants as well as their families are challenging the constitutionality of these laws. They claim that many of these laws that require persons convicted of sex offenses to be included in a sex offender registry, do very little to reduce overall crime rates as they are intended. Denver sex crimes defense lawyers find that very few sex offenses are committed by repeat offenders. In other words, most offenses are committed by new offenders, and persons who have already been convicted of an offense, are not very likely to become repeat offenders.

In spite of those facts and in spite of statistics finding that such stringent penalties do little to keep the public safer, Denver sex crimes defense lawyers find that these penalties continue to be applied often, with devastating consequences for the offender.