Red Flag ERPO Critic and CO Sheriff Gets ERPO’d AGAIN By Jail Inmate

Red Flag ERPO Critic and CO Sheriff Gets ERPO'd AGAIN By Jail Inmate

On Februrary 25,2020 one of Colorado’s most outspoken critics of Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, was red flagged using the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law – and it was an inmate who has been incarcerated in his jail since 2016 on serious drug trafficking charges who filed it – from jail.

That story was nuts.

And now it’s happened again, less than two months later.  Same inmate, new ERPO – from jail! 

According to a post on Reams’ Facebook page, on April 15, 2020 an Extreme Risk Protection Order petition was filed by inmate Leo Crespin against Sheriff Steve Reams, which is public record.  The inmate claims he falls under the law’s extremely broad definition of ‘household or family member’ by marking the box “I regularly reside or have resided with the respondent in the last 6 months”, citing that he lives in Reams’ jail.

In the body of the petition the inmate states that Sheriff Reams arms his S.O.G. officers with 12 gauge shotguns.  The Weld County jail S.O.G. (Special Operations Group) is responsible for maintaining order in situations involving enhanced security risk.  The “shotguns” they carry are actually devices that fire less-than-lethal projectiles and are only carried by the specialized team of officers.

The petition was immediately dismissed by district court Judge Vicente Vigil.

You can read the petition and the ruling in the images below, but it is along the same lines as the February ERPO that was filed.  Read all about that here.

 

 

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CO Sheriff And Red Flag ERPO Critic Steve Reams Gets ERPO’d By Jail Inmate

CO Sheriff, Red Flag ERPO Critic, Steve Reams Gets ERPO'd By Jail Inmate : Rally For Our Rights

One of Colorado’s most outspoken critics of Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, has been red flagged using the new Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law – and it was an inmate who has been incarcerated in his jail since 2016 on serious drug trafficking charges who filed it – from jail.

On February 25, 2020 the inmate filed the petition. On the petition, which is public record, the inmate claims he falls under the law’s extremely broad definition of ‘household or family member’ by marking the box “I regularly reside or have resided with the respondent in the last 6 months”. I suppose there may be some validity to this, as he is housed in Sheriff Reams’ jail.

In the body of the petition the inmate states that “Sheriff Steve Reams is the rudder of the ship, and that ship being the S.O.G. who carry shotguns inside the jail”.  According to the inmate, these deputies carry these “deadly weapons 24 hours a day intimidating and threatening people for the most minor things, such as get on your bed.”  You can read the entire petition below.

The Weld County jail S.O.G. (Special Operations Group) is responsible for maintaining order in situations involving enhanced security risk.  The “shotguns” they carry are actually devices that fire less-than-lethal projectiles and are only carried by the specialized team of officers.

The petition was dismissed as soon as it landed on the desk of Judge James F. Hartmann, without allowing a temporary hearing where the petitioner would be present but the respondent would not be, and the case decided based on a preponderance of evidence.  The judge wrote an in depth statement as part of his dismissal order which in conclusion stated that the petitioner failed to provide any facts that either Sheriff Reams or his deputies were a “significant risk of causing personal injury to themselves or others in the immediate future” as is required by the law, and that the allegations made were not against any specific individual or Sheriff Reams himself, but instead were an attempt to prevent peace officers from carrying firearms within the jail.  The judge refused to address the threshold question of whether or not his residency inside the jail made him a qualifying petitioner.

In a radio interview with Peter Boyles of 710 KNUS today, Sheriff Reams said he found out about the petition when the dismissal order was emailed to him while he was out of town.  This is because according to the law the person being Red Flagged, the respondent, is not informed of the proceeding until AFTER the first hearing has taken place.

This is the second ERPO filed against a member of law enforcement since the Colorado law took effect January 1, 2020.  The first was filed on January 9, 2020 by Fort Collins resident, Susan Holmes, against a Colorado State University Police Officer who fatally shot her son in 2017.  Her son was carrying an 11 1/2″ bayonet hunting knife and had lunged at the officer before he was killed.  After a circus of a hearing, Holmes was charged with perjury for marking the box on her petition stating she was a ‘household or family member’ because her and the officer had a child in common.  It is far less clear if perjury charges in this new case filed against Reams would stick, as “residency” is not really defined within the scope of the law.

Weld County is one of Colorado’s ten largest counties with a large land mass and diverse demographic.

I myself hold law enforcement to high standards when it comes to excessive force, therefore I feel it should be noted Weld is one of only a few counties where the DA refuses to sign off on no-knock raids, and Sheriff Reams has a record of taking swift action in cases of excessive force.  In November 2019, two Weld County deputies were fired and one resigned after video surfaced of them using excessive force during an interrogation when the suspect refused to cooperate.  Two of them had been with the sheriff’s office for 15 years.  One of the deputies was charged with third degree assault.

Sheriff Reams has been sounding the alarm for over a year now on how Colorado’s poorly written Red Flag law can easily be abused and now he has lived it first hand.  He made international news when he told CNN he’d rather sit in his own jail in contempt than enforce an unconstitutional and dangerous Red Flag order.  Reams has been a great ally to us here at Rally for our Rights, even joining us on stage to speak against the Red Flag ERPO law at rallies as well as teaching seminars on the dangers of the law to gun owners and other concerned citizens.  He also helped lead the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement here in Colorado, of which more than half the state’s counties joined.

A burning question of mine that I’ve brought up many times: Why are these free to file?  Even a small filing fee would deter the most frivolous of cases.  Nothing else in the court system is free to file and even a Temporary Restraining Order is $97.

Proponents of Red Flag laws will undoubtedly point to this case as “working as it intended” since no one had their guns seized or their rights violated.  I would argue against that in several ways.  First, what an absolute waste of court time and taxpayer resources.  Second, how scary is it that these petitions are THIS easy to file?  And third, just as we saw in the Susan Holmes case, we’re again seeing how high profile individuals are naturally awarded protection from the abuses of the law.  If this had been an average citizen, unknown to the judge, and someone they had let crash on their couch for a couple weeks, we’d have a completely different story to tell.  And honestly, that is playing out in Colorado already.  This case is the eighteenth ERPO filed in less than two months and a repeal bill has been introduced into the Colorado State Legislature. That bill will get it’s first hearing on March 12, 2020.

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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Bill Introduced To Repeal Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO Law

Bill Introduced To Repeal Colorado's Red Flag ERPO Law

Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law has only been in effect since the first of the year and a bill has already hit the state legislature to repeal it.  Introduced by Rep Lori Saine, Senator John Cooke and Senator Jim Smallwood, HB20-1271 Repeal Red Flag And Amend 72-hour Hold would effectively repeal the Extreme Risk Protection Order law while simultaneously changing the standard for a 72 hour involuntary hold.  It has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.  No hearing is scheduled yet but because every bill gets a public hearing in Colorado, sparks will surely fly when it does.

The changes to the 72 hour hold would replace the term “imminent” with “extreme risk” which is defined as “a credible and exigent threat of danger to themselves or others through actionable threats of violence or death as a result of current mental health state”.  This would give officers more leeway in who they can place in a hold and would remove the person from the crisis, rather than leave a person in crisis while removing one tool harm could be done with.

With the hyper-partisan make up of the state legislature, it is highly unlikely the bill will make it out of committee.  That said, it will give activists a megaphone to bring the Red Flag ERPO abuses we’ve already seen front and center.

The highly controversial Red Flag ERPO bill, HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders, passed through the Colorado legislature last year by one single vote and was then signed by Governor Jared Polis.  It had bi-partisan opposition. Every Republican and three Democrats voted against it.

Colorado’s ERPO law has been used eight times since it became law.

Three were in Denver…

The first ERPO was filed by a police officer requesting to keep guns that had been voluntarily handed over during a domestic dispute call where the respondent made suicidal statements. The respondent voluntarily agreed to the ERPO before a permanent hearing. We detailed that case here and detailed how an ERPO wasn’t even needed.

Another hit Denver soon after.  In this case, the Temporary ERPO was filed by the ex-father in law of the respondent.  Ex-father in law claimed respondent had made non-specific threats.  Temporary ERPO was granted and a permanent hearing was scheduled for Jan 23, 2020.  Respondent did not initially voluntarily surrender his firearms or file the necessary affidavit stating he had personally relinquished them according to what is required by law; this prompted further action from the court at which time the firearms and CCW permit were seized. Respondent is also going through a nasty custody battle which according to him is being financed by the ex-father in law.  The case documents include pages and pages of angry, but non-threatening text messages between ex-father in law, respondent, and ex-wife.  On Jan 23, the hearing was vacated for two reasons: 1) ex-father in law is not a qualified person to file petition; 2) witnesses were out of town.

The next day another ERPO was filed against the same man by the ex-wife, who is qualified person to file under the law. That permanent case will be heard Feb 5, 2020.

In Larimer County three have now been filed… 

The first was filed by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office on an inmate.  He was being held on two felony charges: Inciting Destruction of Life or Property and Retaliation Against a Witness or Victim.  The petition stated that the inmate did not own any guns, but while in jail he had told cell mates that when he gets out he “wants to kill 50 people”.   The ERPO was initiated in an effort to make him a prohibited buyer if he successfully bonded out.  We had lots of questions about this, as if he was released on bond, being a prohibited person is a condition of that bond.  After some back and forth with law enforcement and the CBI, it sounds like “it’s too much work” to get him into the CBI database via the bond route, therefore an ERPO was an easy band-aid to that broken piece of law. At the permanent hearing, an attorney for the inmate respondent argued for more time as she believed he may already be adjudicated mentally defective and a prohibited buyer.  The permanent hearing was rescheduled for March 5, 2020.

The second Larimer case was filed by 64 year old Susan Holmes against CSU Police Officer Phillip Morris.  Morris had shot and killed Holmes’ mentally unstable, knife wielding son in 2017.  Body cam footage clearly shows the shooting as justified, and the DA agreed.  On her petition, which she discussed in a YouTube video, Holmes stated that her and Morris had a child in common, a fact that made her a person qualified to file.  They do not have a child in common.  Holmes discovered a loophole in the ERPO law that allowed her to bypass the Temporary ERPO hearing which would have likely denied her at the door, and instead move right into a full permanent orders hearing.  That hearing was a circus and the Permanent ERPO was denied in the end.  The Larimer county DA then put out an arrest warrant for Holmes based on two charges: Perjury and Attempting to Influence a Public Servant.  After nearly two weeks on the run, Holmes was arrested.

And the third Larimer case was denied at the Temporary ERPO hearing, but it’s so absurd it’s worth pointing out.  This was our first case of legitimate family members: sister and brother.  The petitioner is the sister who is apparently allowing her brother to live with her temporarily.  The brother got very upset when someone moved his soap, and allegedly screamed at his sister and their father.  Sister felt physically threatened and claimed she had seen a gun in the past but wasn’t sure where it is now or if he still had it.  No other information besides the soap incident was provided.  The petition was denied.  Case closed.

Douglas County tried to do one too…

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office filed a temporary ERPO on an inmate in their jail.  The inmate was homeless and owned no guns, but had made suicidal statements while detained.  Similar to the thinking of Larimer ERPOing their inmate, this would have made him a prohibited buyer and unable to legally purchase a firearm when released.  At the Temporary ERPO hearing it was discovered he was already a prohibited buyer because he’d been Adjudicated Mentally Defective in the past.  ERPO denied, case closed.

And one in Lincoln County…

Another was filed in Lincoln County by a woman who claimed a man “whom she’d had relationship with” had made physical and verbal threats to her with a handgun.  She also claimed he used alcohol and marijuana. The judge denied the temporary petition but his reasoning was not made public.

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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VIDEO: Police Break Down Susan Holmes’ Door To Make Arrest For “Red Flag” ERPO Perjury Charge

VIDEO: Police Break Down Susan Holmes’ Door To Make Arrest For “Red Flag” ERPO Perjury Charge

Susan Holmes has been arrested and it happened during a live stream with YouTuber “timmybmn”.  For over 20 minutes, on the uncut version of the video, Holmes discussed her son’s case as well as Red Flag laws.  The entire time police can be heard outside.  Eventually they break into her home and arrest her while still on the YouTube stream.  The arrest occurs approx at the 10:40 timestamp in the video below.

WATCH!

Nine days into Colorado’s atrocious Red Flag ERPO law being on the books, Susan Holmes made national news by filing a petition against a police officer who killed her mentally unstable knife wielding son in 2017.  On the petition Susan claimed her and Officer Phillip Morris had a child in common, which made her a qualifying person.  “Child in common” has no definition included on the petition.  She live streamed the filing of the petition on her YouTube channel.  You can watch that here.

Holmes managed to find a loophole in the law that allowed her to skip the Temporary ERPO hearing where the petition likely would have been denied at the door, and go right to a Permanent ERPO hearing instead.  This meant a full hearing where both parties were required to be present and both parties would have as much time as needed to present their case. This hearing was a circus and was denied in the end.  We were there and you can read our recap here.

On January 23, 2020 the Larimer County DA issued an arrest warrant for Holmes and even added her to the county’s Most Wanted list.  Her charges? Perjury and Attempting to Influence a Public Servant.  According to Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, the Perjury charge was based on the false statement on the petition, and the Attempting to Influence a Public Servant charge was because her end goal was to have a judge grant an Extreme Risk Protection Order on Officer Morris.

Let us know your thoughts on this latest development in the comments.  Do you think if a civilian had a fraudulent Red Flag ERPO filed against them, the person who filed the false petition would be receiving the same treatment as Susan Holmes?

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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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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Red Flag Law Now In Effect In Colorado, Here’s What You Need To Know

Red Flag Resource Center Colorado ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Order
On January 1, 2020 Colorado’s Red Flag Extreme Risk Protection Orders ERPO law officially went into effect.  This means Red Flag ERPO petitions will start making their way into the courts and orders will be coming out, landing in the hands of law enforcement who will then be responsible for serving them and confiscating firearmsor not.

There is a lot to learn about this downright dangerous and unconstitutional law.  The Red Flag Resource Center will be your absolute best resource. Bookmark this site. Share it with your friends and family.  This effort is a collaboration between Rally for our Rights, civil rights activists, and legal experts.  It has all the information you could need about the law, what to do if you’re Red Flagged, along with attorney resources.  They will also be tracking ERPO’s and providing transparency to the public.

Here’s what you need to know if you are Red Flagged:

  • These are civil cases, not criminal.  You have not been charged with a crime. The first court hearing has already taken place without you.  This hearing included the petitioner and a judge.  If you are receiving the ERPO order, the judge granted it based on the accusations provided by the petitioner.
  • Law enforcement will come to your home or place of employment to serve the order.
  • The law enforcement agency who will serve the order and seize the firearms will be your local municipal agency if you reside inside city limits, or your sheriffs office if in unincorporated county.
  • They will have a TEMPORARY Red Flag ERPO order.  This order will have a future court date where the ERPO will either be made permanent or will be dismissed.  This court date must be within 14 days of the initial hearing, but it can be less.
  • They may or may not have a search warrant.
  • Law enforcement may assess you for a mental health hold.
  • They may or may not request to take your firearms and/or CCW permit.
  • If they do not have a search warrant, and do not request to take your firearms, they will provide instructions as to how you can surrender them yourself.  Law enforcement agencies are supposed to provide storage but many have said they will not store firearms and/or do not have the space to store firearms.
  • If you do not surrender your firearms, it is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
  • When the temporary order is granted, you are put into the NICS and CBI databases as a prohibited buyer.

Since the introduction of this bill in the state legislature, there has been debate about who can actually file a petition.  The proponents have said it has to be a family member or law enforcement.  We have long stood by our words that the definition of “family member” in the bill language is broad enough to include spouses and ex-spouses, former and current roommates, anyone you’ve dated, grandparents and grandchildren, and so on.  When the court finalized the petition and put it on the Colorado Judicial website, everything we’ve said this whole time was vindicated.  The images below are of the actual petition.  This is all that needs filed.  There is no filing fee.  You can find all the court forms related to ERPO’s here.

If you or someone you know is Red Flagged, the Red Flag Resource Center wants to know. Red Flag Resource Center Colorado ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Order Red Flag Resource Center Colorado ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Order Red Flag Resource Center Colorado ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Order Red Flag Resource Center Colorado ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Order Red Flag Resource Center Colorado ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Order

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If you or someone you know is Red Flagged, the Red Flag Resource Center wants to know. 

 

A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO’s Red Flag ERPO Law Will Only Exacerbate A Crisis

A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO's Red Flag ERPO Laws Will Only Exacerbate A Crisis

“Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order ERPO laws are picking up steam across the nation.  Some states have had them in place for many years, such as Connecticut who implemented theirs in 1999, or Indiana who crafted their law in 2005, and California jumped on the bandwagon in 2014.  I’ve written about how ineffective they have been in those states. But the past two years, other states are quickly following suit, including Colorado who passed one of the most egregious laws this past spring.  It will go into effect January 1, 2020.

But do they actually help prevent suicide?

States like Indiana pointed to stats showing suicide by firearm was decreasing, but turns out it wasn’t.  It was still increasing but not at the projected rate, so they consider that a win.  In addition, suicide by other methods has skyrocketed and Indiana has dropped from 19th in the country for mental health in 2011, to 45th in 2015, and in both 2016 and 2017 suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all residents over all demographics, and the leading cause for certain demographics.  Their Red Flag law was enacted in 2005.

Across the country, these laws are being touted as “suicide prevention” by anti-gun groups such as Everytown For Gun Safety and their grassroots arm, Moms Demand Action. Now, these groups have been known to tell half truths, mislead, and fear monger, but their claim that Colorado’s Red Flag law will reduce suicide is one of the most upsetting lies I have heard them tell.  That’s because suicide is very near and dear to my heart.  My sister committed suicide 4 1/2 years ago.

A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO's Red Flag ERPO Laws Will Only Exacerbate A CrisisMy sister was my best friend.  She lived one town over, she was the mother to three, and our oldest daughters were born 5 weeks apart.  Her suicide rocked my world, and I still shed tears when I think about it.  I have her name with a semi-colon tattooed on my arm, my only tattoo.  I will never forget the night my mother and my sister came to my home to tell me she was gone, knowing I’d take it harder than anyone else. At first I was in denial as I insisted that she must just be in the hospital, and I needed to get to her. Once past denial, I needed to know where her body was. I got on the phone and desperately started calling people until I connected with the coroner.  Her body was in the morgue at a local hospital.  I so desperately wanted to be with it. I couldn’t imagine my sister alone in a cold morgue, awaiting autopsy. The next morning was when reality struck. The physical pain I felt in my heart when I awoke was something I had never experienced before and haven’t experience since. Watching her children mourn was heartwrenching. For them everything changed the day she made the choice to take her life.  The trajectory of their lives took a sharp, ugly turn.  I would do anything to be able to go back and help her that day. But I can’t.

A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO's Red Flag ERPO Laws Will Only Exacerbate A CrisisMy sister didn’t use a firearm to take her life, although she was a gun rights supporting liberal.  She used a bottle of pain pills that had been prescribed to her by her doctor.

The claims that Colorado’s “Red Flag” ERPO law will help those in a suicidal crisis is disingenuous at best and dangerous at worst.  You see, Colorado’s law has no mental health component to it.  In fact, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams has testified to that many times, pointing out that the legislation asks law enforcement to enter the home of a suicidal individual who owns firearms (forcibly if necessary), confiscate those firearms, and leave both the person in crisis and many other tools to follow through with the act of taking their own life.

This is not compassion. This is not empathetic.  This is cruel.

There is also strong evidence that when responding to one of these suicidal ERPO’s, law enforcement will arrive with a SWAT team, not only exacerbating the crisis, but escalating it to the point of no return.  Early this year, one of our supporters, Ralph Shnelvar, took his own life.  He was going through a rough separation and his wife had reported to the police that he was suicidal and had a firearm.  Ralph sent worrisome emails to his close friends, who immediately went to his residence to try to offer help.  When they arrived, what they found instead was a large police presence and SWAT officers who spent several hours outside the home trying to get Ralph to come out of the residence.  Friends and family were blocked from talking to him. Eventually two police robots were sent inside the home where they found Ralph dead.  No one can tell me that SWAT did not exacerbate that entire situation, possibly causing and/or expediting the ultimate tragic death.

One of Ralph’s friends testified about this situation in front of a State Senate Committee during the “Red Flag” debate in March. Watch that video below.

This is what Colorado’s “Red Flag” law will look like.  SWAT teams going after those who are in crisis, or those who are innocent, another danger we’re facing as the legislation is so poorly written.  Here in Colorado a Tinder date turned stalker can petition the courts over the phone free of charge to have someone’s guns confiscated, and the judge who determines if they should do it, will base it off the lowest evidentiary threshold, a preponderance, meaning there only needs to be a 51% chance the accusations are true. Preponderance only requires more evidence than counter evidence, so given that the respondent is not able to respond until after the seizure of the guns no one will ever lose on that standard.

Let’s also talk about the fear these Red Flag laws will create for gun owners, especially veterans.  If we fear that reaching out for help will result in SWAT showing up at our house, those who need help will will stay silent, again only increasing suicides, instead of reducing them. We cannot stigmatize asking for help, just as we cannot stigmatize being a gun owner.

What can we do?

Gun owners are compassionate and caring, it’s often why they choose to train and carry in the first place.  Because they love their communities.  So we should be asking the question what can WE do? Unfortunately there are not a ton of gun owner specific suicide resources, which is unfortunate because it’s desperately needed.  But if you are a firearm owner and are suicidal – or someone else in your home is suicidal – there are options.  Hold My Guns is a private group who is working to partner with FFL’s and police departments to offer a place people can store firearms during a crisis.  There are also multiple suicide prevention hotlines. And recently CU Anschutz unveiled an interactive map that shows out-of-home gun storage facilities for this exact reason.  WTTA.org also offers non-crisis support to gun owners.

And then there are the crisis lines:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255, or chat online
Veterans Crisis Line:  Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or chat online
Have other resources I should add?  Drop them in comments.  And please know, you can always reach out to your friends at Rally for our Rights, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We’re here for you.  Contact us here

 

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