When the Facts don’t fit the Criminal Charges in Colorado

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Earlier this year, the Colorado Court of Appeals dealt with the issue of the definition of trafficking in children. The case is important not only because it helps clarify child trafficking statutes but because it shows the kind of analysis that the court of appeals wants trial courts to do to determine whether the crime that someone has been charged with in Colorado actually fits the facts of that person’s case.

The particular case that came before the court involved an 18 year old male who had met a 17 year old at a party. The two people decided that the female would offer full body massage services for money. The massage turned into a sex for money situation where the women was regularly performing intercourse with men.

When the police learned of the situation, charges were filed. The case went before the court and the male was found guilty of numerous charges including trafficking in children and child prostitution.

The Court of Appeals overturned the conviction for trafficking in children because the court noted that the sexual serves are not what constitutes the trafficking, rather it is the sale, exchange, barter, or lease of a child that constitutes trafficking. The mere sale of a child’s services, then, are separate and distinct from the sale of the child her/himself.

This is an important distinction because it highlights the difference in the two crimes. The court noted that prostitution is separate and distinct from the actual sale of a child and that a person who is involved in the actual sale of a child from one person to another is committing a much different and more serious crime than that of an ordinary pimp.

If you are interested in the courts ruling, you should read People V. Cardenas, 2014 COA 35 that was released on March 27, 2014.

The definitional nuances of this case are very important to criminal defendants and the work of the attorneys to show the distinction that the trial court missed was crucial in allowing the defendant to receive a more appropriate and just sentence for the activities that he was involved in.

If you are facing a case involving trafficking in Denver, you should seek out a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. It is essential that you discuss your case with your attorney and determine whether there are any issues that can differentiate your case from the actual charges that were filed against you. If there is enough of a difference, you may stand a chance of allowing those differences to work for you so that you only face the charges that make sense based on the facts of your case.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

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Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca