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Thousands of women die each year due to domestic violence. Unfortunately, one recent case that happened right here in Colorado is a lesson to law enforcement officers on how important it can be to act on initial instances of violence.
Earlier this month, police found the slain body of Blanca Judith Jurado Salas, a woman living in Glenwood Springs. She was killed by multiple gunshot wounds inside her home. Law enforcement officials are calling this a case of “extreme domestic violence.”
The man behind the death was Gustavo Olivo-Tellez. Olivo-Tellez was Salas’ ex-boyfriend, and this was not the first case of domestic violence against Olivo-Tellez. At the time of her death, he was wanted on an arrest warrant for third-degree assault. In August, Olivo-Tellez had hit Salas, giving her a bloody nose. He has also reportedly been deported for previous offenses.
After Salas’ death, Olivo-Tellez was tracked down by cell phone and license plate data. He was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder. His current girlfriend, Michelle Castillo, was also arrested as an accessory to the crime. She drove Olivo-Tellez to Salas’ home on the night of her murder. Days after his arrest, Olivo-Tellez’s bond was set at $2 million – cash only.
Olivo-Tellez had had a warrant out for his arrest since August. When a warrant is issued against someone, law enforcement has the ability to arrest that person anywhere: at a traffic stop, at their home, at the grocery store, in court, and on and on. This means that police officers had at least six weeks before the death of Salas during which they could have arrested Olivo-Tellez.
If they had done this, there’s a decent chance that Blanca Judith Jurado Salas would still be alive today. Stories like this tend to bring a renewed focus to domestic violence, making it a higher priority in terms of public perception, political pressure, and even in the minds of officers themselves.
Officers don’t want to have to deal with another public relations nightmare like this one. Because of this, Colorado law enforcement officials may make increased efforts to crack down on smaller domestic violence cases in order to prevent the possibility of big crimes happening down the road.
If you believe you could be charged with domestic violence or there is a warrant issued for your arrest, you may want to prepare yourself for the way Colorado handles domestic violence arrests. We have said it before and we’ll say it again: our state has some of the toughest domestic violence laws in the country.
Let’s just reiterate the initial stages of a domestic violence arrest. Once you have been arrested with domestic violence in Colorado, you cannot post bond until you have seen a judge. This means that you will have to spend the night in jail. You will also lose the ability to contact the victim for seven days, because Colorado puts a mandatory (temporary) protection order on you upon your arrest.
The victim also have no way to drop the charges against you. Once you are arrested, the case is taken over by the state of Colorado – only the prosecutor has the power to drop charges.
Whether you have already been charged or simply fear the possibility, it is important to speak with a Colorado domestic violence lawyer about your case, your options, and how you can start building a serious defense strategy for your hearing.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.