Stalking has been called “The Crime of the Nineties.” This is because the crime did not exist until that decade.
California was the first state to create the crime of stalking. Its law was passed in 1990, shortly after a deranged fan murdered actress Rebecca Shaeffer, the star of the television series “My Sister Sam.” The fan was a stranger to the actress. He began following her during the weeks leading up to her death, eventually knocking on her door and killing her when he opened it.
When Rebecca Shaeffer was killed, it was not a crime to simply follow someone around. In those days, law enforcement could do very little to help someone who was simply being followed by another person. They had to wait until an assault had actually occurred before they could step in to help the victim.
Times have changed. Colorado, like virtually every other state, now has a stalking law.
Under Colorado law (C.R.S. Section 18-3-602), a person commits the crime of stalking when he: (1) makes a credible threat against another person, and in connection with the threat, repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, or places that person under surveillance; or (2) makes a credible threat against another person, and in connection with that threat makes any form of communication with that person. Even without a threat, a person can commit stalking if he repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, or places under surveillance another person in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does in fact cause that person to suffer serious emotional distress.
Stalking is a felony in Colorado.
The lawyers at ParkerLawyers have experience handling stalking cases. As a prosecutor, Morley Swingle handled stalking cases at the trial and appellate level.
These are cases where law enforcement tends to err on the side of the victim, because nobody wants another situation where a Rebecca Shaeffer ends up being hurt by a stalker. As a result of this extreme caution by law enforcement officials, however, an innocent person can end up being accused of this crime.
If you are being investigated or charged with a stalking offense, feel free to call Parker Lawyers at (303) 841-9525.