Category Archives: Domestic Violence Treatment Issues

Aggravated Harassment Law Struck Down

by H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Harassment Criminal Defense Lawyer – Email the Author at 5 mg levitra enough

New York’s Appellate Courts struck a blow for justice yesterday when they struck down a New York Harassment law called “aggravated harassment.” The Court held that speech that is merely annoying or alarming is not illegal – the Court ruled that the law was unconstitutionally vague and over broad on its face.

The law read that it was a felony to communicate with someone “in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.”

In striking down the law – the higher court ruled that “any proscription of pure speech must be sharply limited to words which, by their utterance alone, inflict injury or tend naturally to evoke immediate violence.”

Colorado’s Harassment Law Is Often Charged In Weak Domestic Violence Cases

A common practice during arguments between married or committed individuals is to argue – to shout – to use epithets – to call or text ugly words. These common practices can become fodder for arrests by police officers compelled to decide if they violate Colorado’s Harassment Laws under 18-9-111.

…I have watched as harassment is routinely charged in the weakest, most vague and otherwise unchargeable cases. This charged is routinely called a “kitchen sink” crime like careless driving in the area of traffic cases. It is charged when there just isn’t anything else that you could be charged with. But the truth is this – if harassment is charged as “an act of domestic violence” what follows after the mandatory arrest – can be life changing -restraining orders, domestic violence treatment, probation, and the loss of second amendment rights.

Colorado Harassment Law – 18-9-111

In Colorado, harassment is charged when the police and the DA believe one of the following sections has been violated:

A person commits harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she:

(a) Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise touches a person or subjects him to physical contact; or

(b) In a public place directs obscene language or makes an obscene gesture to or at another person; or

(c) Follows a person in or about a public place; or

(e) Initiates communication with a person, anonymously or otherwise by telephone, computer, computer network, or computer system in a manner intended to harass or threaten bodily injury or property damage, or makes any comment, request, suggestion, or proposal by telephone, computer, computer network, or computer system that is obscene; or

(f) Makes a telephone call or causes a telephone to ring repeatedly, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate conversation; or

(g) Makes repeated communications at inconvenient hours that invade the privacy of another and interfere in the use and enjoyment of another’s home or private residence or other private property; or

(h) Repeatedly insults, taunts, challenges, or makes communications in offensively coarse language to, another in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response.

(1.5) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “obscene” means a patently offensive description of ultimate sexual acts or solicitation to commit ultimate sexual acts, whether or not said ultimate sexual acts are normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, or excretory functions.

Colorado Domestic Violence Defense – Unveiling The ‘Real Abusers” and the “Real Victims”

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Lawyer – Please Email the Author at

Colorado Domestic Violence Defense – Unveiling The ‘Real Abusers” and the “Real Victims” – All experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyers understand that our legal system’s treatment of abuse is absurd. Law enforcement officers called to the scene of alleged domestic violence are poorly trained to fully understand the depth and character of the deep seated psychological problems and issues that underlie even the most outwardly simple acts of domestic violence.

Sometimes things are not as they seem. If you are a patrol officer dispatched to the scene of an alleged act of domestic violence, you may not understand that the “striking person” may NOT the “real abuser” in the relationship.  If a psychologist was with you  (obviously not possible) he or she might tell you that the real abuser is the person that has the real control in the relationship … that person we would call the “psychological abuser.”

The Psychological Abuser

The “psychological abuser” is usually polite, stable, manipulative and non-aggressive outwardly. They are much better at maintaining control in all instances. when the response from the less capable of the two – the “striking abuser” loses control – the “psychological abuser” is in control. .

The outwardly aggressive abuser- the one the police arrest – is made by society and the courts – to believe that since they are the “attacker,” they are the real abuser in the relationship. It is true that the person arrested for domestic violence is usually the person who has lost control over their emotions (usually the man) and may in fact be the attacker outwardly. But – in some cases – the  act of domestic violence – that striking out – may NOT be about control over the other person – on the contrary it may be about frustration – from a lack of or a loss of control.

Domestic Violence “Science” Is Sometimes Simplistic AT Times And May Be Mistaken About Outward Aggression and Abusive Control

When you read the so called “research” about domestic violence research, we are told know that domestic abuse is fundamentally about control. In abusive relationships, violence is supposed to be a manifestation of control. It is used by the aggressor to established and maintain control.

Such a reading is driven by a gender bias against men. The assumption is that the attacker is always the “abuser,” – he is the one who holds greater power and control in the relationship. This is the kind of simplistic analysis that drives the cottage industry of domestic violence therapeutic interventions.

The existing control theory fails to take into account the etiology of the aggressor’s violence.

While it is true that some “abusers” (outward aggressors) strike to regain control…they are not always the “controlling party” in the relationship. While their actions may, on the surface, appear violent, inappropriate and outwardly abusive, their behavioral actions may be reflexive in nature.

Many “outward aggressors” mindlessly seek a level playing field in their intimate relationships. At the core, these individuals remain under the psychological control of their partners and the violence they display is the result of inadequate conflict resolution skills, rather than a pathological addiction to control.

Which Is The Real Abuse – A Slap, A Push, or Constant Mental and Psychological Abuse?

An abusive relationship may have one party as the verbal aggressor while the other is psychologically controlling. Both individuals are abusers and both are victims in their abusive relationship.

A successful approach to any domestic violence prosecution -if the prosecution is truly seeking justice – must act with sensitivity to the complexities in almost all intimate relationships. Labeling the outwardly violence partner as “the abuser” ignores the true dynamics in play here.

Justice Must Be Blind – Domestic Violence “Abuse” Dynamics Are Never Simple

The prosecutions of Colorado domestic violence cases often reveal what turn out to be mutually abusive relationships. Our system of justice must be gender neutral and not simplistic or reductionistic in it’s approach these cases.

Stakeholders in domestic violence cases – the alleged victim – the defendant – eyewitnesses – family members or friends – must all approach any domestic violence criminal case with honesty and sincerity if our system of justice is ever to truly bring an end to the huge numbers of these cases crushing our courthouses in Colorado and across the country.