James Holmes case: Prosecutors clarify that victims can talk to defense if they want

Thumbnail image for james holmes in court with public defender tamara brady.jpg
James Holmes and defense attorney Tamara Brady in 2012.
Prosecutors in the James Holmes case have sent an e-mail to victims clarifying that they are allowed to speak to Holmes's attorneys if they want. Judge Carlos Samour ordered prosecutors to send the e-mail (on view below) after defense attorneys complained that prosecutors were discouraging victims from talking to them and to a victim liaison they hired. In an e-mail sent to victims in May, a prosecutor wrote that the liaison's role is to "find Victims who will help the Defendant" -- which Holmes's attorneys say isn't true.

See also: James Holmes trial now scheduled to begin December 8

In that same e-mail, prosecutor Lisa Teesch-Maguire wrote: "If you want to help the Defendant -- that is your choice and you are free to do so, but please know that you can voice those opinions through this office, just as strongly."

The effect of the e-mail, Holmes's attorneys argued, was to dissuade victims from talking to them. "The prosecution has sabotaged the defense's credibility with the victim-witnesses in this case, and wrongly inflamed the victims and their families," they wrote. Holmes's attorneys asked that prosecutors be sanctioned for interfering with the defense's investigation of the case. One of the sanctions they suggested was to take the death penalty off the table as a possible punishment for Holmes.

Judge Samour wasn't willing to go that far, but he did order prosecutors to send another e-mail to victims. "The Court concludes that none of the drastic sanctions requested is warranted," he wrote. "Nevertheless, in an abundance of caution, to address a concern raised by the defendant, the Court requires the prosecution to send a clarifying e-mail."

Teesch-Maguire sent that e-mail to victims on July 31. In it, she made clear that "it is your choice to decide whether or not you would like to speak with the defense.

"You have the right to speak or not to speak to anyone you wish about this case, or to be interviewed by anyone (or not to be interviewed by anyone) you wish about this case," she wrote. "This choice is completely your choice alone to make. This includes the prosecution, the defense, or anyone else who requests to speak with you about this case."

However, she warned victims that anything they say "may potentially be used in Court."

Holmes is accused of murdering twelve people and injuring seventy more by opening fire in an Aurora movie theater in July 2012. His trial is set to begin December 8.

Read Teesch-Maguire's entire e-mail to victims below.

Prosecutors' E-mail to Victims


Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com



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19 comments
Max Padilla
Max Padilla

What a waste of time and money. Bill Ritter former prosecutor then governor has turned Colorado into a prison state ( what can I say, we go to what we know) say goodbye to the death penalty because we are all gonna have to pay. $$$ that's what bill and his prison industry friends want. Money! Holmes and Dunlap are just money in the bank

Cajun Plaisance
Cajun Plaisance

So, innocent people are dead all this time, while we feed, clothed, medicaid, and home the criminals? What the hell is wrong with the law? Rob 7_11, and you get life!

Nicole GuBrath
Nicole GuBrath

They don't have to talk to either side. Regardless, the prosecution has to turn over their evidence to the defense. It doesn't "help" Holmes either way, as Westword is suggesting.

Stephanie Ann Hast-Clow
Stephanie Ann Hast-Clow

I so want to hurt him.... I still refuse to use his name. He is shunned in my world and will remain that way.

Evan Brogan
Evan Brogan

Legal proceedings are not news. Stop making them celebrities. What good is it for us, with zero knowledge of the law or courtrooms, to question something we don't control anyway. Please report the verdict. Thank you.

Virgil Dunn
Virgil Dunn

How about you kill yourself already?

Jeff Jones
Jeff Jones

The victims want to talk to Holmes to help themselves. .. whether it helps him or not they could give two fucks...

Cody Lott
Cody Lott

Plus the lady in the pic was for some reason was at the Sandy hook press conference u tell me why would she be at two media power trips involving murder bet you see her at another

Cody Lott
Cody Lott

To bad the real holmes is reading this And laughing cause hes changed hisi denity and insertd an imposter in the judicial system hoq does that guy not look like he has been fill up with meds via the government

Samuel Hulin
Samuel Hulin

He deserves a trial, like anyone else would. Then we kill him. Trial first, we are trying to have a society over here.

Thomas Charles Santistevan
Thomas Charles Santistevan

I'm don't think Holmes engenders any sympathy from anyone, so I doubt it'll be detrimental to the prosecution.

Steve Potts
Steve Potts

If victims want to communicate with that POS it's their right.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Nothing like a little witness tampering....

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