Judge: DA’s office can prosecute former Aspen cop in sex case
September 26, 2009
ASPEN – Three sexual-related felony charges were filed against former Aspen police officer Joe Holman on Friday, after a judge denied a motion seeking to disqualify the district attorney’s office.
Holman’s attorney, Lawson Wills, argued in Pitkin County District Court that the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office should be removed from the case, mainly because Aspen prosecutor Arnold Mordkin had recused himself. Mordkin’s removal demonstrated that the rest of the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office – comprised of Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties – had an office-wide potential for a conflict of interest, Wills contended.
Judge James Boyd disagreed, saying that state law allows disqualification of a district attorney’s office district on three grounds: when the district attorney’s office disqualifies itself, if the district attorney’s office has a personal or financial interest in the case, or if the defendant cannot get a fair trial.
Wills did not, Boyd concluded, present an argument that met that criteria.
Mordkin also took the stand, saying he took himself off the case because he knew Holman as well as his colleagues.
“I felt that politically it might be more correct that we have the matter handled outside of the immediate vicinity of the office that worked with Joe Holman and other officers,” Mordkin said.
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The judge’s decision paved the way for Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Pototsky to file the class-four felony charge of criminal attempt to commit sexual exploitation of children, the class-six felony of criminal attempt to commit sexual exploitation of a child, the class-six felony of tampering with criminal evidence, and the misdemeanor of criminal attempt to invasion of privacy.
Holman was arrested in June on suspicion of hiding a video camera in a shower stall used by a teenage girl who lived at his house. The incident allegedly happened April 29. After being placed on administrative leave May 29, Holman resigned June 24, the day he was arrested.
He had worked for the Aspen Police Department since 2000.