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Boulder Criminal Defense Blog

How Truthful Are Lie Detectors?

From the moment that John Augustus Larson invented the lie detector in 1921, the device has had more than its share of scrutiny and outright controversy. With fine-tuning from protégé Leaonarde Keeler, the University of California-Berkeley medical student Berkeley Police Department officer patented it on January 13, 1931.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) eventually purchased the prototype of what would become the modern-day polygraph. Initially, it was used by the CIA to determine the truthfulness of applicants and existing employees. However, it was the McCarthyism era that gave the lie detector prominence.

Make Your Criminal Record Disappear

With the passage of House Bill 19-1275, Colorado has expanded the number and nature of prior convictions eligible for sealing. For those who have a criminal record but have since led a law-abiding life, the new law gives a chance to truly let the past be the past- and the future to no longer be tainted by a mistake that happened many years ago.

The most important aspect of House Bill 19-1275 is that it allows sealing of criminal convictions that were previously barred. While recent changes in the law provided for certain drug offense to be sealed and charges for people in special circumstances, such as victims of human trafficking, to have their record removed, those with a conviction faced the consequences of having a permanent mark on their record that could affect their opportunities for education, employment, and housing.

"But that's not domestic violence!"

Many people are surprised to learn how easy it is to be charged with domestic violence in Colorado. If domestic violence is reported to the police, Colorado law requires a mandatory arrest.

As a result, many couples learn after one of them is already sitting in jail about how easy it is to be charged with domestic violence. In addition, there are potentially harsh consequences after the arrest, including the requirement of "no contact" with the alleged victim, vacating the shared home, and domestic violence classes. Here are some of the easiest ways to find yourself facing DV charges.

Revisiting Statutes Of Limitations For Mandatory Reporting

Colorado law accounts for victims of sexual abuse who remain silent for months, if not years. Experts assert that admitting this type of exploitation does not happen overnight. It takes time to summon up the courage and turn to someone for help.

Mandatory reporters -- teachers, doctors and social workers - play a pivotal role in the disclosures relayed to them in any form. By law, these professionals are required to call a child abuse hotline, alert law enforcement, or contact the Colorado Department of Human Services within a set amount of time.

Smile! You're on Boulder Police body camera video.

It's almost 2020, and cameras are everywhere. Small powerful video and audio recording devices are found on phones, doorbells, strapped to the helmets of skiers and bikers, and increasingly pinned to the chest of uniformed police officers. The vast majority of police-citizen encounters are now recorded, and what is shown in such "body worn camera" (BWC) footage (or the lack thereof) has become a major aspect of every criminal case.

BWCs are primarily provided to uniformed officers, who are trained on their use and operation and are responsible for following the police department's guidelines for their use and preserving any footage that is recorded. Officers in the Boulder Police Department who have been equipped with a BWC are required to turn on their camera when they contact a citizen while investigating any in-progress crime, suspicious incident, situation that is adversarial and may involve the use of force, and generally any other situation where it is appropriate to record and the footage documenting the incident may be of value.

Liberty's Last Champions

The core concepts of our freedom, the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt are in jeopardy. Over the course of a 40+ year career talking to juries I had been confident that the women and men that served believed in these core values.

Of course, individual jurors allowed racial, ethnic or religious prejudices to interfere with their duty to honor these concepts. But by and large the vast majority of jurors put their faith in these ideals and honored them.

Are marijuana sniffing dogs a thing of the past?

Detection dogs are trained to use their senses of smell to perceive a variety of substances. Commonly used by law enforcement to sniff out the presence of illegal narcotics, the canines have come under controversy in Colorado, a state that legalized a once prohibited drug six years ago.

The issue has three key aspects: how courts have defined a dog sniff, how detection dogs are trained and the complex relationship between state and federal laws.

New drug policies heavily affect local college students

Parents in Colorado have a reason to rejoice as Gov. Pollis signed a new bill into law which "de-felonizes" possession of several common drugs and reduces sentencing for drug misdemeanor charges in 2020.

Why does this new law appeal to parents? The primary purpose of the law encourages treatment over "criminal punishment" or incarceration. Ultimately, it benefits addicts and college students who possess specific controlled substances, such as ecstasy.


With the passage of Initiated Ordinance 301 by a slim margin, Denver has become the first city in the United States to "decriminalize" the personal possession and personal use of "magic mushrooms"- that is, fungal matter that contain the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, or nor-baeocystin. The new ordinance went into effect with the certification of the vote passing the ordinance on May 16th, 2019.

But supporters of the ordinance should be careful before planning their next "trip" to a summer concert. While the new law changes aspects of enforcement, decriminalization is still several steps away from complete legalization. Those who plan to explore their newfound freedom should know a few key things about what Initiated Ordinance 301 does (and doesn't) do.

Honors & Memberships

Best Lawyers - Best Law Firms U.S.News 2018 american board of trial advocates superlawyers national board of trial advocacy - NBTA - established 1977 scott jurdem - Recognized by best lawyers

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