The Counterman Stalking case: A stalker disguised as a promoter

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Stalking happens when someone repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, tries to communicate with or watches another person (or someone that person is close to). In connection with that behavior, the stalker either threatens that person or does those things in a way that causes the person to suffer serious emotional distress.  

In a relationship, when it’s on the verge of a breakup, sometimes one of the parties cannot help but stalk the other especially in the internet age when every detail of an individual can be accessed virtually. Staking can also be done via text messages, voicemail messages, emails, and so on. The question is how would we know if stalking has become harmful and has crossed the line? If you were accused of stalking, can you get yourself a bail bonds service? Let’s find out how in the following case if going to a bail bonds agency can help if someone is accused of stalking. 

First, let us know the legal definition of Stalking. (a) Stalking is a serious problem in this state and nationwide; (b) Although stalking often involves persons who have had an intimate relationship with one another, it can also involve persons who have little or no past relationship; (c) A stalker will often maintain strong, unshakable, and irrational emotional feelings for his or her victim, and may likewise believe that the victim either returns these feelings of affection or will do so if the stalker is persistent enough. Further, the stalker often maintains this belief, despite a trivial or nonexistent basis for it and despite rejection, lack of reciprocation, efforts to restrict or avoid the stalker, and other facts that conflict with this belief. (d) A stalker may also develop jealousy and animosity for persons who are in relationships with the victim, including family members, employers and co-workers, and friends, perceiving them as obstacles or as threats to the stalker’s own “relationship” with the victim; (e) Because stalking involves highly inappropriate intensity, persistence, and possessiveness, it entails great unpredictability and creates great stress and fear for the victim; (f) Stalking involves severe intrusions on the victim’s personal privacy and autonomy, with an immediate and long-lasting impact on quality of life as well as risks to security and safety of the victim and persons close to the victim, even in the absence of express threats of physical harm.

There’s a case in Denver Colorado where a singer-songwriter never thought that she’s being stalked for six years by a man she’d never met. Counterman, the alleged stalker, sent his first message to Whalen (the victim) in 2010. He disguised himself as a Denver promoter and asked Whalen to play a benefit show. Because of that, they have exchanged messages. When the messages became cryptic, Whalen’s bandmates advised her to ignore Counterman’s messages. He sent thousands of messages on social media but even though Whalen has already blocked her, he keeps on making new profiles. Because the creepy man claimed he had seen Whalen perform, she became especially afraid of playing live – a major impediment for the professional musician who had long supported herself by touring. Counterman’s messages increasingly troubled her and by 2014, his aggression had escalated and he was sprinkling in more personal details from her life giving her the sense that she was being followed.

In 2015, Whalen asked for advice from her attorneys and they said to ignore him (Counterman) until it became frightening, her attorneys advised her to report him to the police. They have found out that Counterman has been arrested in 2002 and in 2011 for threats to harm women and saying disrespectful words.

After Whalen reported Counterman, the police arrested him for harassment but he was released while awaiting trial. Yes, this was possible through a bail bonds service. But the good thing is Whalen had her peace of mind throughout the period as Counterman did not contact her but nonetheless, she was terrified performing at shows and would hand photos of him to bookers and bouncers to keep an eye out for him. Venues accommodated Whalen’s requests, agreeing to look out for him and kick him out if he showed up.

The Colorado Court of Appeals held that Counterman’s statements in the trial were in fact “true threats”. True threats are statements that are considered in content and under the totality of the circumstances, an intended foreseeable recipient would reasonably perceive as a serious expression of intent to commit an act of unlawful violence. To further understand the Counterman case decision, we need to know what are the elements of the Colorado crime of credible threat stalking. First of all, there’s the defendant. Second, in the state of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged. The third is knowingly repeatedly followed, approached, contacted, placed under surveillance, or made any form of communication with another person, either directly or indirectly through a third person. Fourth, in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and last, which did cause that person to suffer serious emotional distress.

How the court analyzed the communication in this case and the legal reasoning they applied and the test they designated provided a roadmap to the complex line between protected and unprotected speech under Colorado law. This case provided a framework for analysis that is based on the context of the statement and not necessarily the statements alone.

Nowadays, the internet also plays an important role. Due to the rise of social media usage, innocent words can be misunderstood and opinions misconstructed as defamatory. In other words, what we want to express can sometimes be misinterpreted.

If a family or friend has been accused of stalking without any hard evidence, you can help the defendant by going to a bail bonds agency. Lucky Lucero’s Bail Bonds service helps good people through bad times. In case of difficulty, do not hesitate to call us at 303-659-2245. Lucky Lucero’s Bail Bonds have been around since 1982. Our reputation speaks for itself.

By | 2021-08-23T13:44:30-06:00 August 23rd, 2021|Bail Bonds|