April 12, 2012

Colorado Court of Appeals 3-29-12 People v. Brooks


People v. Brooks            Sex Offender Registration / Out of State Convictions
Facts: Texas previously convicted Mr. Brooks of “indecency with a child by exposure”. After dutifully registering every quarter for about two years in El Paso County, Colorado, a detective sought to confirm Mr. Brooks' address. The cop complained Mr. Brooks moved, did not unregister the old address, and did not re-register his new address. The prosecution charged Mr. Brooks with two felony counts under the sex offender registration statute. Mr. Brooks’ lawyers argued at a court trial that Colorado did not require registration for the offense under which Texas convicted Mr. Brooks. The trial court ignored the defense and convicted Mr. Brooks of misdemeanor offenses for failing to register.
Issue: Whether the Texas conviction for “indecency with a child by exposure” requires a person to register as a sex offender in Colorado?
Held: No.
Reasoning: The Court of Appeals (panel: author Judge Graham and Judges Carparelli and Booras concurring) compared the elements of the indecent exposure statute in Colorado with the statute under which Texas convicted Mr. Brooks. The Court found that Colorado required an additional element, “under circumstances in which such conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to another person.” Hence, the Court of Appeals held the offense under which Texas convicted Mr. Brooks did not amount to indecent exposure in Colorado, contrary to what the prosecution argued. Thus, Mr. Brooks never needed to register as a sex offender. Therefore, the Court of Appeals reversed Mr. Brooks' convictions. A colleague, Deputy Public Defender Rory Taylor, wrote the brief and argued the case on appeal after co-PD Kelly Moss raised, argued, tried the case in District Court. Nice work all around.

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