I just returned from the arraignment hearing for the 12 people ticketed for indecent exposure on Oct. 31 during Boulder’s 10th annual Naked Pumpkin Run.
To a layperson like me, this arraignment hearing was remarkably short and opaque. But I did get more info from a defense attorney and clerk from the District Attorney’s office. Here’s where things are at with this case, so far as I understand…
Six of the 12 ticketed runners are represented by Boulder defense attorney Philip Clark. It’s unclear yet whether the other six runners arraigned today have legal counsel. However, a representative of the DA’s office is meeting with each of them today, ostensibly to discuss plea bargain options. Those discussions are private, and Clark said a public announcement in court on this case today was extremely unlikely.
Clark told me that he is trying to arrange a plea bargain for his clients, since “We believe that the indecent exposure charge is inappropriate.”
…Which is exactly the point. As I reported earlier, in Colorado an indecent exposure conviction means mandatory sex offender registration. This can seriously and perhaps permanently wreck people’s lives, careers, and finances — which seems a disproportionate punishment for people who participated in a longstanding and fun (although unofficial) annual event that involved nonsexual public nudity.
I attended the 2008 Naked Pumpkin Run as a bystander, and I witnessed the runners being ticketed by cops. Statements by Boulder police chief Mark Beckner reported in the Daily Camera indicated the police intended to use this event to posture:
“We wanted to do something before (the event) got out of hand,” said Police Chief Mark Beckner. “This was a good opportunity to enforce the law.”
As I reported earlier, the Boulder police could have issued citations for disorderly conduct. This would have been an option to “enforce the law” and publicly posture without causing disproportionate harm.
HOW TO FOLLOW UP ON THIS CASE
Before I left the courthouse, I spoke to a clerk for the Boulder County DA’s office, and she gave me guidance on how to follow up on this. She said that Deputy DA David Cheval is handling these cases for the DA’s office. Here are his duties in this capacity. Apparently concerned citizens are welcome to contact Cheval on this case — but Deputy DAs have heavy workload, and may not have time to respond to citizen requests.
The clerk suggested that a more efficient way to gather information on the progress of this case would be to connect with a victim advocate in the DA’s office. Carolyn French is the director of victim services for the DA’s office. I’ll be following up with her.
I’ll post more when I learn more.
If you are involved with this case or have further information or context, please post in the comments below. Please state your name or connection to the case, or your source of information — with links, if possible.