When someone buys a used car from a dealership, they are issued a title. When spending money on something as expensive and important to one's safety as a car, a wise buyer likely purchases a vehicle that comes with a clean title. But what happens when a clean title is misrepresented? A recent Colorado felony case shows us what can happen when buyers' trust in a car dealer is violated.
Colorado man Michael Bruce Shaw was arrested at his home on March 25th. Investigators compiled enough evidence to warrant a search of his home to confirm or clear their suspicion that Shaw was involved in the Internet sex crime of downloading and distributing child pornography. The search and arrest were initiated after the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force noticed that illegal pornographic files were consistently being trafficked to and from Shaw's address.
Earlier this year, Wendy Lyall stood before nearly 1,000 spectators to receive her second-place medal in the 40-49-year-old division of the Leadville Trail 100. The high-profile mountain bike race, which takes place every year in the small town of Leadville, Colorado, has limited space and to race in it - let alone place - is a big deal.
Colorado still has some unusual crimes on the books that carry extreme penalties for the conduct they are addressing. For example, Colorado Revised Statute 18-9-115 makes it a Class 3 Felony to "Endanger Public Transportation". What exactly is endangering public transportation? Amongst other things, it means threatening any operator, crew member, attendant, or passenger with death or imminent serious bodily injury or threatening them with a deadly weapon or with words or actions intended to make someone believe you have a deadly weapon. You can also meet the elements of this crime by knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person on a public conveyance. What exactly is a public conveyance? It's a train, airplane, bus, truck, car, boat, tramway, gondola, lift, elevator, escalator, or other device intended, designed, adapted, and sued for public carriage of persons or property. So if a criminal defendant were to threaten another person by saying he or she had a gun, normally that would be the offense of Menacing, a Class 5 Felony, punishable by up to 1-3 years in the Department of Corrections. But threaten someone on a bus, and then the punishment, if the District Attorney charges this crime of Endangering Public Transportation, is for an F-3 Felony punishable by up to 4-12 years in the Department of Corrections. Normally, if a criminal defendant assaults someone as listed above by "knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury" that's a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 2 years in the County Jail. Again, do it on a bus or a plane, and the D.A. could charge a Class 3 Felony. With District Attorneys upping the stakes on criminal filings to get leverage on cases, it's important to know that it sometimes matters more WHERE a criminal defendant commits an alleged crime, than IF he or she committed the crime.
What are the hidden costs of taking a felony conviction? When criminal defendants are deciding how to best handle their case, oftentimes there are a number of collateral consequences nobody tells them about. A court and a district attorney aren't under any obligation to tell you about some of these consequences. While it's impossible to foresee every consequence from a case, there are some every criminal defendant should be aware of.