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Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws

By Colorado Criminal Defense Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer – H. Michael Steinberg

Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws are the result of the attitude that Sex Offenders are to be uniformly condemned by society with little attention paid to the nature – reasons and circumstances of their crimes. The one size fits all approach here in Colorado has led to an ill advised treatment modality that is roughly based on what is called “community safety.” 

The lives that have been ruined and the toll that has been taken because of community publication requirements of the federal government – must be re-examined and more creatively amended consistent with the true nature of the alleged crimes that Colorado sex offenders have committed.

Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws

Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws

Confusion Between a Colorado Sexual Offender And A Sexually Violent Predator

The one size fits all approach to the treatment of Colorado Sex Offenders has led to a public that does not carefully distinguish between a sexual offender and a sexually violent predator. This article points out the differences between the two categories and helps draw out and explain these distinctions.

Following a conviction of a sex crime in Colorado is an extensive sex offender registration process, certain community notification policies, the posting of information onto Internet databases.

Colorado Sex Offender Laws – The Sex Offender Crimes

What follows is the law – Sections 16-22-102(9) and 18-1.3-1008, C.R.S.  that define a sex offender as a person convicted of one of the following sex offenses:

•Sexual assault in the first, second or third degree;

•Unlawful sexual contact;

•Sexual assault on a child;

•Sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust;

•Sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist;

•Enticement of a child;

•Incest;

•Aggravated Incest;

•Trafficking in children;

•Sexual exploitation of children;

•Procurement of a child for sexual exploitation;

•Indecent exposure;

•Soliciting for child prostitution;

•Pandering of a child;

•Procurement of a child for prostitution;

•Keeping a place of child prostitution;

•Pimping of a child;

•Inducement of child prostitution;

•Patronizing a prostituted child;

•Engaging in Sexual Conduct in a Penal Institution;

•Wholesale Promotion of Obscenity to Minors; and

•Promotion of Obscenity to Minors

•Criminal attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of the above offenses.

What Follows Is Colorado’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Definition

(1) Per 18-3-414.5 C.R.S., a “Sexually violent predator” is an offender:

(I) Who is eighteen years of age or older as of the date the offense is committed or who is less than eighteen years of age as of the date the offense is committed but is tried as an adult;

(II) Who has been convicted on or after July 1, 1999, of one of the following offenses committed on or after July 1, 1997:

(A) Sexual assault in the first, second, or third degree (felony);

(B) Unlawful sexual contact;

(D) Sexual assault on a child;

(E) Sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust;

(III) Whose victim was a stranger to the offender or a person with whom the offender established or promoted a relationship primarily for the purpose of sexual victimization; and

(IV) Who, based upon the results of a risk assessment screening instrument developed by the division of criminal justice in consultation with and approved by the sex offender management board, is likely to subsequently commit one or more of the offenses specified in subparagraph (II) under the circumstances described in subparagraph (III).

Based on the results of such assessment, the court or parole board shall make specific findings of fact and enter an order concerning whether the defendant is a sexually violent predator.

Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws – The Amber Alert and The Protect Act

The year 2003 saw an law as an outgrowth of the Amber Alert program called the Protect Act. This federal law required all of the states to create internet sex offender databases.  All convicted sexual offenders and predators are now obligated to register with the state, and their personal information is  publicly posted on the internet.

What is not happening – especially in Colorado – is the accurate assessment of the individuals’ risk to their communities. It is critical to differentiate between high-risk predators, and lower-risk offenders. The average Colorado citizen cannot distinguish between what may be termed a dangerous sex offender and one whose crimes were minor and more negligent than intentional acts.

Legal terminology used in the Colorado criminal justice system is both confusing and creates misunderstandings that destroy lives. Not all registered sex offenders have committed crimes serious enough pose a threat to the community – but all are required to register as sex offenders and in very few cases – is de-registration an easy task – if it is possible at all.

I have represented very young men – under 20 years old – whose only crime has been an addiction to pornography that escalated to child pornography.  They are listed on Colorado’s Sex Offender Website even as they treat the addiction – see http://sor.state.co.us/?SOR=home.home.  These young men are harmless – not a threat to anyone.  The idea behind prosecuting the viewers of child pornography makes sense as the children are revictimized and a market for the images is created by the downloaders – what makes no sense is publicly listing the young kids as your neighborhood sex offender.. Currenly this is the practice in Colorado.

Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws – The Sexual Offender v. The Sexually Violent Predator

Most of those convicted of Colorado Sex Offenses are not, and should not be deemed as, dangerous or threats to society. The terms sexual offender and sexual predator are confusing – and as noted above – the legal distinctions between the categories make them manifestly different. 

The uninformed do not differentiate between those two terms -become confused and the distort the truth.

Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws – The Jacob Wetterling Act

In 1994, the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act was enacted enforced. The law also requires all states to establish registries and databases for all convicted sexual offenders who target children. 

Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws – Megan’s Law and Community Notification Policies

Megan’s Law – This law required notification to communities, schools, and day care operations s about the presence of convicted sex offenders residing in their neighborhoods. Community notification policies are said to increase the public’s awareness of convicted sex offenders who live nearby so that citizens can take precautions and protect themselves and their children. 

It was Megan’s Law combined with the Jacob Wetterling Act that later led to the establishment of the 2003 Protect Law, requiring all states to create Internet sex offender registries.  Every state in this country is required by law to have a database of all sexual predators and offenders.

When a person visits this website, a zip code, county, and/or an offender’s name may be entered and a list of matches will appear. The offender’s profile includes his or her name (including aliases), a photograph, a physical description, a current address, a date of birth, the Department of Corrections number, the qualifying or triggering offense(s) that qualified them as a predator or offender, and the victim’s gender and age range…

The Pam Lychner Act (1997), which mandates lifetime registration for some sex offenders and a National Sex Offender Registry.

Example – Statutory Sex Crimes – When She Cannot Consent

in Colorado young people who are not aware of the age of consent – but who have consensual sex – being are treated the same as child molesters. It makes no sense to punish them publicly by internet publication of their names and no other explanation.  Clearly some sex offenses are harmful, but others may have been committed unintentionally.

In the absence of a knowing or intentional act – should he or she have to be publicly humiliated in the same way as someone who acted maliciously? 

The Public Seems Not To Care

What your friends and neighbors fail to understand is that the majority of sex offenders are not the strangers who jump out of bushes to attack joggers or pull young children into cars – but rather the “perpetrators” are generally friends, acquaintances, or family members.

Public databases shut down reintegration back into the community.  Not only are the offenders embarrassed about having their names, pictures, and private information publicly announced and posted, these human beings have relatives and close friends who suffer the same humiliation as the person whose name is published in this way.

The experience of these individuals whose names have been posted on the Internet or who have  been subject to community notification are feelings of isolation, shame, embarrassment, fear, depression, deteriorating relationships, divorce, and anxiety.  The hatred they feel – the ostracism, the harassment – the threats, not to mention the loss of employment, eviction from their residences and self loathing greatly – in most cases – exceeds the nature of their acts. Studies have shown that these negative effects can actually trigger some of the offenders to relapse.

What is needed is a tier system that would further categorize Colorado sex offenders and identify them by actual risk.  The low risk individuals must not make their way onto the internet.

A recent study has pointed out that a tier system would allow communities to “more accurately identify those sex offenders who pose the greatest threat to public safety…and decrease some of the negative effects of community notification on lower risk offenders”

Sexual offenders often are “one timers” in my experience. They are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, grandfathers, grandmothers, cousins, or best friends.

Their offenses often result in permanent records that appear every time they apply for a job or have a background check. While it is clear that malicious and dangerous sex offenders need to be exposed to the public – individuals who have made mistakes or poor judgment should be given a second chance.

Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws – The Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB)

The Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) – a multi-disciplinary Board created in 1992 by the Colorado legislature to develop Standards & Guidelines for the Assessment, Evaluation, Treatment & Behavioral Monitoring of Adult Sex Offenders – could assist in this area in further creating the distinctions discussed .. Politically – they have no will to do so.

Please call our law firm if you have questions about ..

Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws

H. Michael Steinberg has been a Colorado criminal law specialist attorney for 30 years (as of 2012). For the first 13 years of his career, he was an Arapahoe – Douglas County District Attorney Senior  prosecutor. In 1999 he formed his own law firm for the defense of Colorado criminal cases.

In addition to handling tens of thousands of cases in the criminal trial courts of Colorado, he has written hundreds of articles regarding the practice of Colorado criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN and Various National and Local Newspapers and Radio Stations.  Please call him at your convenience at 720-220-2277.

If you have questions about Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws in the Denver metropolitan area and throughout Colorado, attorney H. Michael Steinberg will be pleased to answer those questions and will also provide quality legal representation to those charged in Colorado with adult and juvenile criminal matters as regards ……Colorado Sex Offenders Registration Laws.

 


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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