Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Charlie Sheen just the latest example of Colorado's domestic-violence laws

Charlie Sheen didn't study his Colorado legal history before he headed to Aspen for a vacation last Christmas.

Three decades ago, Colorado was at the cutting edge of recognizing the dangers of domestic violence. The first battered women's shelters in the country were established here, and Colorado was the first state to approve a law-enforcement protocol originally established in Denver: When the cops are called on what they determine to be a domestic violence incident, someone is going to jail. Whether that someone is male (the usual case) or female; whether the argument is in Akron or Aspen.

On Aspen on Christmas Day, that someone was Sheen.

The theory is that removing someone from the scene takes away the possibility of more immediate violence. And, in Sheen's case, it insures levels of lawyering that are certain to increase as his July 21 trial date draws close.

According to the Aspen Times, Sheen's lawyers are now trying to suppress an interview that Sheen gave to Officer Rick Magnuson, who'd questioned him on December 25 in the home where he'd allegedly threatened his wife -- without advising Sheen of his Miranda rights, according to his attorneys -- before taking him to jail.

The tabloids will no doubt keep up with every move in the Sheen case. For a package that traces the history of Colorado's domestic violence laws, see our June 1998 feature "No Way to Treat a Lady."

It makes for interesting reading, Charlie.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun