Arshack, Hajek & Lehrman

The People of the State of Colorado vs. James Holmes

Aurora shooter’s lawyers take Fox News subpoena fight to Supreme Court

We defended the fair trial rights of James Holmes, who faced the death penalty for charges arising out of a mass shooting tragedy at a theater in Aurora, Colorado.

Shortly after Mr. Holmes was arrested, the police seized some writings that he had previously provided to his psychologist. Immediately after that seizure, a Colorado judge ruled that none of the contents could be revealed by anyone until they were reviewed by the court and their relevancy and admissibility in the legal case was determined. In violation of that order, two Colorado members of law enforcement leaked the contents of those writings to a Fox News reporter, in a clear effort to damage the defense of Mr. Holmes. The reporter, who apparently thought nothing about sabotaging the fair trial process, then published the writings.

We were asked to sue the reporter in an effort to compel her to disclose the identities of the law enforcement officers who had violated the court’s order. We won against the fourth-largest law firm in America at both the trial and appellate levels, but sadly the highest court in New York declared that they would not step in to avoid a perversion of justice in a death penalty case. We then appealed to the United States Supreme Court. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. ■

One day, perhaps, our Courts will decide that that there is no more cherished right than life and liberty and they will finally and clearly state that deliberate efforts to pervert justice, especially in a death penalty case, will simply not be tolerated.Daniel N. Arshack