by Scott Creighton
I am reminded of what Supreme Court Justice Scalia said when he rushed to file a motion to stop counting the votes in Florida in 2000 – (paraphrase) “Continuing to count the votes will cause untold harm to George Bush’s presidency!” Yeah, I guess that does make sense in a fascist kind of way.
Arapaho County Court Judge William Sylvester denied most of a legal motion filed by a group of news agencies to unseal all the relevant documents in the Aurora massacre case. Both the prosecution AND the defense argued to keep the records sealed (and that should tell you something about the quality of the defense James Holmes is receiving)
The judge is keeping his gag order in place claiming disclosure would cause untold harm to the case. But is that really true or does this order have the potential to cause “untold harm” to the community? After all, if Holmes isn’t guilty of this cowardly attack, someone is.
Still sealed are “affidavits of probable cause, arrest warrants, search warrants, and request for or court orders for production of records”… pretty much anything to do with the evidence of the case against James Holmes. Basically he’ll be tried in secret.
According to the MSNBC report, Holmes looked drugged again when he appeared in court last Thursday, his third court appearance in which he seemed to be in such a state.
The judge had the unmitigated gall to write in his ruling…
“Simply put, there is a very real potential for untold harm to the case, and that cannot be allowed to occur,” There existed “no less-intrusive alternative exists” to the gag order… Judge William Sylvester
Furthermore, the judge held that James Holmes’ college records would also remain sealed as well as any other information from the school itself.
“The investigation of this matter continues and the court FINDS that any release of the University of Colorado records at this time would interfere with the investigation and may cause irreparable harm.” Judge William Sylvester
I suppose it might cause untold harm to the prosecution’s case against Holmes if the public were to find out
- that there were two gas masks taken into evidence and that one of them was 60 yards away in an area Holmes was never supposed to have been…
- that Holmes was drugged up when they found him inside the car (not coming out of the theater as early reports indicated)
- that Holmes was so drugged they couldn’t even take his mug shot booking photo for 3 days
- that Holmes was so out of it when they found him they didn’t need to shoot him and they may have ordered a spine board to transport him to the police station because he couldn’t walk
- the explanation of the disclosure of the so-called “stick figure drawing confession” changed 3 times and in the end the prosecution wondered how the media claimed they knew what was in the package before investigators even opened it
- the fact that according to police transcripts and early reports to the press claimed they had one suspect in custody (drugged up Holmes) and one suspect still on the loose
- that on July 20th (the day of the shooting) Mayor Bloomberg’s police commissioner Ray Kelly stated that Holmes claimed to be “the Joker” when arrested when in fact, he said nothing of the sort. Bloomberg has been using this case ever since to push for stricter gun control legislation across the country.
- that ABC News deliberately misrepresented the statement by Holmes’ mother in order to implicate him as the shooter
In light of the facts surrounding this case, I can certainly understand how the judge could conclude in his ruling that the prosecution’s case could suffer “untold harm” if the prevailing evidence and documentation of this case were to be released to the public.
But of course, the questions remain, would it cause “untold harm” to the pursuit of justice for the victims and their loved ones or will the judges order do “untold harm” to the community at large considering the fact that the real Aurora Massacre shooter is probably still free to plan another attack?
I guess only time will tell.
As the plaintiffs in the suit to unseal the evidence in this case accurately stated “The public has an obvious and legitimate interest in knowing on a timely basis the actions being taken by the government officials… responsible for the prosecution and trial of the Defendant.” Well, there is a very good reason for that… if this defendant did not do this, then the person who did is still at large and after all, that is the point of investigations, is it not? We don’t just need to get our pound of flesh do we? We try individuals in cases like this, not simply for retribution, but to ensure the safety and well being of the community at large. To make sure the perpetrator does not harm anyone else. Can the public rest comfortably knowing that animal is off the streets when the trial is held in secret?
What appears to be most important to Judge William ‘Scalia’ Sylvester is the conviction of James Holmes and not the protection of the community from the potential “untold harm” of letting a mass murderer run free. If disclosing the truth of the prosecution’s case against Holmes could cause it harm, then maybe they need to be looking for that second (only?) shooter who they were talking about early on and who left that gas mask on the Sable side of the back of the theater as he made his way across the grass to freedom.