Defense asks for special prosecutor in case against former Aspen cop
July 21, 2009
ASPEN – The defense attorney for a former Aspen police officer said Monday he will request a special prosecutor in the criminal case against Joe Holman, who allegedly hid a video camera in a shower stall used by a teen-aged girl.
Holman, 38, made his first court appearance Monday in connection to the allegations that led to his arrest and resignation last month. The girl was living at Holman’s house at the time of the incident, which authorities say happened in April.
Holman, who joined the Aspen Police Department in 2000, was arrested June 28 following a probe by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. He had been on paid administrative leave from his patrol officer post since May 29.
Wearing a coat and tie and accompanied by family members, Holman sat through a brief hearing in Pitkin County District Court, where authorities plan to charge him with two counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a child, tampering with evidence, child abuse and attempted criminal invasion of privacy, according to court records.
The filing of the counts, however, has been put on hold, after Wills said he wants a special prosecutor on the case. Jon Pototsky of the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office was in court to file the charges, but Judge James Boyd told Pototsky he must rule on Wills’ motion seeking a special prosecutor before the case can proceed.
Pototsky appeared as a replacement for Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin, who normally handles felony cases in Pitkin County.
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Mordkin, however, was taken off the case to remove the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest, as Aspen police work closely with Pitkin County prosecutors on criminal cases. Mordkin’s office also is on the ground level floor of the Pitkin County Court house, while the Aspen Police Department is headquartered on the floor below.
After the hearing, Wills said that although Pototsky is based in Glenwood Springs and apparently has no close ties to Holman, the defense attorney still wants to bring in a prosecutor from outside of the 9th Judicial District, which comprises Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties.
“In my view there is a conflict even with [Pototsky],” Wills said. “We want somebody to prosecute who is not influenced by the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.”
Wills said Holman’s spirits are “good, given the circumstances he’s in.”
“He has the love and support of his family,” Wills said. “Obviously his world has been turned upside down – losing his job and having this played out in the press.”
Wills suggested there is more to the case against Holman than what authorities have presented.
“We expect to deny many of the allegations,” he said.
Wills said he doesn’t expect to request a change of venue or judge.
Judge James Boyd, who is presiding over the case, gave Wills two weeks to file his motion requesting a special prosecutor. A hearing regarding the motion is set for Sept. 21.