Star Denver Broncos receiver Jerry Jeudy was arrested this week on charges of second-degree criminal tampering with the domestic violence enhancer. This arrest comes at the end of a string of high-profile NFL arrests this year, including Raider’s receiver Henry Rugs III with a DUI fatal hit and run and running back Alvan Kamara, who was arrested for battery involving serious bodily harm in Vegas after the pro bowl. At first glance, the mention of a crime involving domestic violence would place the actions of the Broncos’ receiver on the same level of moral egregiousness as his fellow NFL stars. However, as facts about the case have been revealed to the public, this story becomes less about the tendencies of NFL stars and more about the way Colorado writes and enforces its laws.
A quick recap of the alleged facts known thus far: Jerry Jeudy allegedly locked an identification card, documents with medical information pertaining to his child, and baby formula, all belonging to his baby momma, inside his vehicle. The woman, whose identity remains unknown, needed these belongings in Virginia. Jeudy claims that the woman was keeping one of his cell phones from him and therefore locked her items in his car in retaliation. The woman called the police in an effort to obtain her possessions from Jeudy’s car. The government charged Jeudy with second-degree criminal tampering because he locked the woman’s things away from her. They added the domestic violence sentence enhancer because they allege that this act was committed against a former intimate partner in an effort to coerce or control her behavior.
The language for Second Degree Criminal Tampering is as follows:
“Except as provided in sections 18-4-506.3 and 18-4-506.5, a person commits the crime of second-degree criminal tampering if he tampers with property of another with intent to cause injury, inconvenience, or annoyance to that person or to another or if he knowingly makes an unauthorized connection with property of a utility. Second-degree criminal tampering is a class 2 misdemeanor.”
Police, in this case, likely arrested Jeudy under the “tampering to inconvenience and annoy” portion of this statute.
The language for domestic violence is more complicated. Domestic violence in and of itself is not a crime. The term domestic violence is used to define a crime committed between an intimate couple and is, therefore, a crime enhancer. The enhancer changes how the court addresses the crime and comes with additional consequences, including a mandatory protection order and, importantly, in Jeudy’s case, mandatory arrest. For a longer, better explanation of this, check out our blog post on understanding domestic violence charges.
While this may seem like a strange concept, the reason for this law is intuitive. Let’s look at the example of the crime of assault. If someone is at a bar, gets too drunk, and punches a random stranger in a bar fight, the court would like to treat that situation differently than if a husband gets too drunk and punches his wife. It’s unlikely that an individual in a bar will ever come into contact with that stranger again, and they couldn’t retaliate against that person calling the police because they probably don’t know a lot of personal information about a stranger at the bar. On the other hand, a husband’s abuse is far more likely to be repeated, and the wife’s safety is far more likely to be in question. The court could go and make two versions of every law, one for in a household and one for at a bar, but to save time, they write enhancers to separate different types of crimes based upon type and severity.
The reason that Jeudy was arrested at the scene of the crime is that if the police respond to a domestic dispute in Colorado and determine that there is probable cause that a crime occurred, they must make an arrest. The logic behind this is that if the cops think there was a crime of domestic violence, they have to separate the parties to avoid escalation or further violence. The court clarified in Jeudy’s first court appearance that no physical interaction or harm came to any parties involved. Jeudy’s case brings into question then if the law is written too broadly in Colorado.
As currently written, the mandatory arrest laws cast a “wider net” than the logic behind the law can justify, and people like Jeudy get arrested for locking an ID in the car. On the other hand, narrowing the scope of the law could leave some at-risk members of the community vulnerable.
As an attorney who sees both sides of the coin every day, I contend that citizens should stop calling the police to handle their nonviolent relationship issues. Not only is it a waste of taxpayer dollars, the cops are either too apt to make a mistake in judgment, or their hands are tied by the law.
If you are charged with domestic violence, it is of the utmost importance to have a successful and skilled defense attorney on your side. If you are in need of an experienced and relentless domestic violence attorney, call Krizman Law today at 303-529-2677.
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Mr. Krizman is a criminal defense attorney in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in providing relentless defense for domestic violence, DUI, and drug crimes. He is a former public defender who has also worked for a district attorney and is licensed in the State of Colorado, and the United States Federal Court, District of Colorado. Mr. Krizman is a member of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association, and Arapahoe County Bar Association. A Colorado native, he has a law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa. Call him today at 720.819.7317.