Hearing Recap: Red Flag ERPO Denied Against Colorado Police Officer Who Shot Petitioner’s Son

Red Flag ERPO Denied Against Police Officer Who Shot Petitioner's Son : Rally For Our Rights
Today I attended the Red Flag ERPO hearing of CSU Police Officer Phillip Morris. Susan Holmes is the woman who filed the petition requesting that Morris’ firearm rights be suspended and any firearms he owns be confiscated. Holmes claimed her and Morris have a child in common which would qualify her to file against him. They do not have a child in common based on what you’d think “child in common” means, but turns out there is no legal definition of that term and it can be argued many ways.

In 2017 Morris shot and killed Holmes’ 19 year old knife wielding son (11 1/2″ bayonet hunting knife). The shooting was deemed justified, and I have watched the bodycam footage and I do agree with that assessment.

Susan Holmes discovered a loophole in Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law that allowed her to bypass the initial Temporary ERPO hearing. The way it’s supposed to work is a Temp hearing would be scheduled within 24 hours of her filing, where the judge would determine based on a preponderance of evidence if the facts on the petition were true or not, and he would either approve or deny the Temp ERPO order. Had Susan Holmes gone through this Temp hearing the case would have more than likely been denied based on her claim they had a child in common (but who knows). Turns out it doesn’t matter.  This law is so poorly written, if you think you will be denied at the Temp hearing because, say…you lied, you can just bypass it and go right to a full hearing forcing the person being ERPO’d to fight back or risk losing their firearm rights. It doesn’t matter how frivolous any of it is.

The Attorney General’s office sent two of their attorneys to represent Officer Morris, dismissing the attorney who had been appointed to him. I wonder if the AG would do the same for me if I was fraudulently ERPO’d? I won’t hold my breath.

Susan Holmes did not have any legal council with her at the hearing.

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith refused to serve the petition on Officer Morris calling it a fraud. It was a fraud, but would he also not serve me if I claimed an ERPO on me was a fraud?

The hearing began by the AG’s attorneys who were representing Officer Morris waiving service since the sheriff was refusing to serve Morris. This allowed the hearing to proceed.

Susan Holmes had filed a motion asking the judge to recuse himself based on his history of overseeing cases she was involved in. I’m still not clear what those cases were. The judge denied the motion.

Susan Holmes then stated “I do not recognize you as a judge or your ruling” and she accused him of judicial misconduct. Judge told her she could appeal his decision and/or file a formal misconduct complaint with the court.

Judge was actually really patient with her and thorough in everything he did. Kudos to him because even though this fraud makes a mockery of the court system, this is what happens when the legislature passes laws against the wishes of law enforcement who deal with the courts. You end up with laws that turn the court into a circus, and it’s the judges job to see that through no matter what, and this judge was going to do just that.

Holmes was then given the opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses to make her case for the removal of Morris’s firearm rights and the confiscation of his guns. She refused based on the fact she wouldn’t recognize the judge.

Judge turned to Morris’ attorneys from the AG’s office and invited them to present evidence and call witnesses. They began by stating this should have first gone through a Temporary ERPO hearing. Judge stopped them and said no, because that wasn’t the way the petition was filed. This is a permanent hearing. They then begin to argue that there is no standing for Holmes to file the petition because they do not have a “child in common” (although attorney was stumbling over the definition because there really isn’t one). A sworn affidavit from Morris was filed stating he does not have a child with this woman.

Holmes was given the opportunity to respond and make her case for what she believes “child in common” means. Judge asked: “Do you want to address if you have a child in common?” Holmes: “I don’t recognize you as a judge.”

The judge regularly had to read right from the ERPO law to try to make sense of what he was supposed to do.

Judge ruled he cannot find by clear and convincing evidence that they do have a child in common, mainly because Holmes won’t present evidence, so the ERPO was being denied based on her not having standing to file. Holmes can appeal and get a different judge. Holmes last statement was that she was appalled that the AG had stepped in. I was a little bit too. The AG called people like me who said this law could be abused “paranoid” and didn’t care if we were collateral damage.

Holmes started demanding an amendment be added to the ERPO that allows citizens to directly ERPO law enforcement.

I told media this makes it obvious how easily ERPOs can be used maliciously, and if these were average citizens and not a police officer in a high profile case, would the sheriff refuse to serve the petition and would the AG come to the defense? Absolutely not. We’d be on our own – defenseless.

Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law had been in effect for 9 days when Holmes filed, and this is the 5th ERPO in the state. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

To learn more about Colorado’s Red Flag Law, obtain attorney resources, and/or report if you’re Red Flagged, visit www.redflagresourcecenter.com.

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BREAKING: Colorado Mother Who ERPO Red Flagged Cop Who Shot Her Son Posted Her Petition Filing On YouTube

BREAKING: Colorado Mother Who ERPO Red Flagged Cop Who Shot Her Son Posted Her Petition Filing On YouTube

This article has been updated to reflect that the Temporary ERPO may not have been granted, but it was not denied and the case has moved forward to a permanent hearing.  The judge has signed off on the request for the respondent’s counsel among other things.

This sounds like it should be an Onion article, but sadly it is not.  This is the reality of how easily abused Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law has already been in the 14 days since it became law.

On January 9, 2020 a petition was filed by Susan Holmes against Phillip Morris.  The petition states that the two have a child in common (a factor that would make Susan a qualifying person to file the ERPO under the law’s broad definition of “family or household member”).  If she was not one of the people that fall into the nine categories of “family member”, she would have had to go to law enforcement to request they file on her behalf.

There is a complex history between a Susan Holmes and Phillip Morris in Fort Collins.  Phillip Morris is a CSU Police Officer who shot and killed Susan Holmes’ knife wielding son in 2017 and there is no evidence the two have ever had a child in common, as it appears they did not know each other prior to the 2017 incident described below.  It is also highly unlikely they have had a child since the incident given the nature of their relationship.  The petition cites “ongoing violence and aggression from 2013-2017” as evidence that Morris is a danger to himself or others and an ERPO is needed to ensure he is stripped of any firearms he may own or have access to.  It also states there is an ongoing lawsuit.  It should be noted 2013 is when Morris was hired by CSU Police.

The ERPO was moved forward by 8th Judicial District Chief Judge Stephen Howard.  He signed the request for appointed counsel for the respondent among other things.  A Permanent ERPO hearing will take place on January 16, 2020

You can read the entire story here.

What is even more shocking is that Susan Holmes actually posted her filing of the petition and a very long rant on YouTube!  She finishes off her ten minute video with “And this is why Colorado citizens should be allowed to file E.R.P.O.’s.”

Watch:

To learn more about Colorado’s Red Flag Law, obtain attorney resources, and/or report if you’re Red Flagged, visit www.redflagresourcecenter.com.

 

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Cop ERPO Red Flagged By Mother of Man He Killed In 2017 Colorado Police Shooting; Mother Claims They Have Child Together

Cop ERPO Red Flagged By Mother of Man He Killed In 2017 Colorado Police Shooting; Mother Claims They Have Child Together : Rally for our Rights


This article has been updated to reflect that the Temporary ERPO may not have been granted, but it was not denied and the case has moved forward to a permanent hearing.  The judge has signed off on the request for the respondent’s appointed counsel among other things.

Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law went into effect January 1, 2020 and we’re already finding alarming cases that deserve attention.  A brand new Red Flag ERPO case out of Fort Collins, Colorado sheds light on exactly how easily this new law can and will be abused.

Here’s what we know:

On January 9, 2020 a petition was filed by Susan Holmes against a Phillip Morris.  The petition states that the two have a child in common (a factor that would make Susan a qualifying person to file the ERPO under the law’s broad definition of “family or household member”).  If she was not one of the people that fall into the nine categories of “family member”, she would have had to go to law enforcement to request they file on her behalf.

There is a complex history between a Susan Holmes and Phillip Morris in Fort Collins.  Phillip Morris is a CSU Police Officer who shot and killed Susan Holmes’ knife wielding son in 2017 and there is no evidence the two have ever had a child in common, as it appears they did not know each other prior to the 2017 incident described below.  It is also highly unlikely they have had a child since the incident given the nature of their relationship.  The petition cites “ongoing violence and aggression from 2013-2017” as evidence that Morris is a danger to himself or others and an ERPO is needed to ensure he is stripped of any firearms he may own or have access to.  It also states there is an ongoing lawsuit.  It should be noted 2013 is when Morris was hired by CSU Police.

The ERPO was moved forward by 8th Judicial District Chief Judge Stephen Howard.  He signed the request for appointed counsel among other things.  A Permanent ERPO hearing will take place on January 16, 2020

It is unclear if Morris has surrendered his weapons, was entered in the NICS and CBI databases, and is off duty, as would be required by the law if a temporary ERPO was granted.

There is a long history between Holmes and Morris, and it’s a complicated one.  

On July 1, 2017 Susan Holmes contacted police after her son, 19 year old Jeremy Holmes, left her home carrying an 11.25 inch bayonet knife and was talking about killing his brother who lived on the CSU campus.  Susan first attempted to contact the brother and his wife but was unsuccessful, so she turned to law enforcement.  During the call with police, Susan explained that her son was mentally ill.

CSU Police Officer Phillip Morris was the responding officer.

According to the Larimer County District Attorney and body camera footage, after Morris made contact, Jeremy Holmes began brandishing the knife.  Morris can be heard instructing Holmes to drop his knife, even as Holmes continued to walk toward him, forcing the police officer to back up more than 100 feet in about two minutes.  Morris told Holmes to drop the knife 36 times. In the video Holmes can be heard saying “kill me now” three times.

At this point, back-up Officer Erin Mast arrived and drew her weapon, also demanding that Holmes drop the knife.  As Morris reached to holster his gun and grab his Taser, Holmes charged toward him with the knife.  Mast shot Holmes twice, and Morris shot him four times.

Since the incident, Susan Holmes, mother of the deceased, has filed a civil lawsuit against CSU claiming lack of transparency surrounding the details of her son’s death, has run for city council, and campaigns to the point of instigation to change police practices that she believes led to the incident.

Now it appears she is asking to have Officer Phillip Morris’ weapons seized for at least 364 days, which is what would happen if the Permanent ERPO is granted.  Morris would have one opportunity to request the court lift the order during those 364 days, and at that time Susan Holmes would be alerted and have the opportunity to ask the judge to deny Morris’ request.  When the 364 days is up, again, before the order is lifted, Susan Holmes would be alerted and able to request the ERPO be put into place for another year.

And we must revisit the question that was brought up in the beginning – do these two really have a child together?  Is it really that easy for just anyone to file an ERPO petition?

We will be watching the permanent order closely and will provide an update.  More information can be found via a quick Larimer County Court Docket search.

37 counties across Colorado have declared Second Amendment Sanctuary status, but although Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith has been an outspoken critic of the new Red Flag ERPO law, Larimer County, where Fort Collins is located, isn’t one of them.  That said, even if they had declared 2A Sanctuary Status, that wouldn’t stop the orders from going through the court, nor would it stop enforcement actions within city limits unless the municipality has declared themselves a 2A Sanctuary city.  Fort Collins has not done that.

Links to sources and bodycam footage are provided throughout the article so people can draw their own opinions about the police shooting. This article is about the potentially malicious use of an ERPO.

UPDATE:  Susan Holmes has posted video of her petition on YouTube!  WATCH:

To learn more about Colorado’s Red Flag Law, obtain attorney resources, and/or report if you’re Red Flagged, visit www.redflagresourcecenter.com.

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What We Know About Colorado’s First Red Flag ERPO Case

What We Know About Colorado's First Red Flag ERPO Case : Rally for our Rights

Colorado’s Red Flag Extreme Risk Protection Orders ERPO law just went into effect on January 1, 2020.  Today the news broke to the public that the first case had been successfully filed and granted.  Sadly, it’s not unlikely the person being ERPO’d also heard about the ERPO against them for the first time on the local news along with the public.  That is because the person being accused is not awarded the opportunity to defend themselves at the first hearing, nor are they even aware of it.

Here’s what we know about this unique first case:

  • Police made contact with a 26 year old man at a SW Denver gas station on December 29. 2019.  PD allege he had a cut over his eye, and during a pat down search they discovered he had a loaded 9mm Glock in his waistband.
  • The man said the cut was from falling down and the gun was because he wanted to “off himself” after an argument with his wife and her sister. PD also allege he was visibly intoxicated.
  • The man later told PD that the cut was actually from his wife, who had hit him in the face with a bottle.
  • PD took the man in on a mental health hold due to his suicidal statement.
  • The firearm was seized and logged into Denver Police Property.
  • When PD spoke with the wife, she was also visibly intoxicated and admitted to throwing the bottle at her husband.  She was booked on 2nd degree assault charges. Her story later changed and she claimed her husband has perpetrated the abuse and that he had pointed his gun at her while making threats.
  • At the request of PD, the man voluntarily surrendered another firearm while the domestic violence investigation took place. That firearm was a .45 caliber Springfield.
  • It is also alleged the man told police it was a “good thing they stopped him because he was contemplating doing something bad”.
  • On January 2, 2020, the Denver District Attorney’s Office declined formal charges on both parties in regards to the domestic violence allegations.

This is where the ERPO comes in:

Because no domestic violence charges were filed, the firearms needed to be returned to the owner.  Instead of returning the firearms, the police officer chose to request to continue to hold them through an Extreme Risk Protection Order ERPO citing that the individual may still be suicidal.

So, now we have a potentially suicidal individual, who may or may not also be a victim of domestic violence (or perpetrator), and the police feel they have “done something” by withholding firearms –while leaving the person in crisis with many other tools.  Possibly two people in crisis.  

Considering this man voluntarily gave up his guns prior to the ERPO and allegedly told the police officer that he was worried he would have harmed himself if he had not, a private solution would be a great option.  Imagine if this police officer visited suicide prevention organization Hold My Guns (www.holdmyguns.org) and helped arrange a FFL who would store his firearms until he felt he was in a better place. No courts, no judges, no rights being infringed – just help and compassion.

What will happen now?

On January 16, 2020 the man will go to court where he will have an opportunity to defend himself and request his firearms be returned.  The police officer who filed the ERPO petition will also be there to present his case, or he could submit sworn affidavits if unable to attend in person.  At that hearing, the judge will make a decision whether or not the accusations are true.  This decision will be based on clear and convincing evidence, whereas at the first hearing the decision was based on a preponderance of evidence (meaning one side had more convincing evidence, even though only one side was present).

The man who has been ERPO’d can either retain a private attorney, represent himself, or request the court appoint one. Because this is a civil, not criminal, proceeding, public defenders are not used, but instead attorneys who have volunteered to work these cases for state pay will be called upon.

At the January 16 hearing, the order will either be dismissed or made permanent.  If made permanent it will go into effect for 364 days.  The person who has been ERPO’d will have one opportunity to ask the courts to lift it during that time.  If he was to make that request, the police officer would be alerted and could ask it remain in place.  At the end of the 364 days the police officer will also be alerted that it is going to expire and could request the ERPO be renewed for another year.

To learn more about Colorado’s Red Flag law, get attorney resources, and more visit www.redflagresourcecenter.com.

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