Defense, DA trade jabs in Stagner motions
Attack and counterblow motions have been filed by the prosecution and defense in the Steven Michael Stagner murder case. Many contain a decidedly vengeful tone.
The motions include a request by Stagner’s public defender, Greg Greer, to suspend the court proceedings and disqualify Ninth District Attorney Mac Myers from prosecuting the case.
Greer alleges that Myers has conveyed an “appearance of impropriety,” and calls for replacing him with a special prosecutor.
Not to be outshined, Myers filed counter motions. He alleges that Greer engaged in unprofessional conduct last week by telling local newspapers that by requesting another psychiatric evaluation for Stagner, Myers was “fishing for another opinion” about whether Stagner is insane.
According to deputy district attorney Gretchen Larson, the motion is basically asking Greer to refrain from trying the case in the media.
Myers also has demanded that Greer and fellow public defender Jamie Roth immediately disclose all pertinent evidence and sanity reports to the prosecution.
Larson said this motion is standard in an insanity case.
Greer also filed a motion Thursday asserting that a second mental examination should not be allowed by the court.
He said “there is no good cause,” and “further examination denies Mr. Stagner’s fundamental rights.”
In a motion filed Thursday, Greer requested disqualifying Myers from the proceedings because a court hearing was held May 2 without the defense present.
Larson, however, said that neither she nor Myers attended any hearing. She said on Friday she was preparing to file a counter motion.
According to Greer’s document, he attended a meeting May 2 with victims of the shooting in an effort to calm the adversarial relationship between the defense attorneys and victims.
Greer contends that Myers complained to court clerk Jim Bradford about the meeting, and that Bradford took the complaint to Judge Peter Craven.
“Mr. Myers did not contact counsel for Mr. Stagner, did not file a motion, did not request a hearing on the record before the court,” the document said.
Larson insisted, however, that there was no official hearing.
“There was no hearing, Mr. Myers just went to Mr. Bradford,” she said.
The motion goes on to claim that relaying information directly from Myers to the court has created the appearance of impropriety by the court.
In order to “restore the reality and appearance of impropriety to these proceedings, the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office must be removed,” Greer’s motion states.
“All proceedings should be stayed until these events can be explored fully … including questioning of all victims by the court to determine if the DA has improperly used his influence to discourage contact between the victims and this office,” the document said.
Greer also called for all victims to be interviewed to determine if Myers tried to discourage them from talking to the public defender’s office.
In another motion filed Thursday, Greer objects to a second psychiatric examination of Stagner “because there is no good cause.”
The motion states that Stagner decided to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity on the grounds of a psychiatric report by Dr. David Johnson, which states that Stagner is insane.
In addition, Greer asserts that there is no cause for another examination.
Greer’s motion says if the court allows the prosecution’s request to allow an examination by Dr. Park Dietz and Associates – a firm known for providing effective testimony for prosecutions in prominent cases – then the court would be acting as an agent of the prosecution.
Neither Greer nor Roth were available for comment on Friday.
In a motion filed Thursday, Myers requested a court order that Greer comply with the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, claiming that Greer should refrain from making statements outside the courtroom that he knows will show up in the newspaper, especially if those statements likely will affect the case.
“Counsel for the defendant made numerous statements to the local press which appear to have the intent of maligning the reputation of both Dr. Dietz and the District Attorney’s Office through personal attack,” the motion said.
Included in the motion were copies of stories that ran last week in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and Aspen Daily News where Greer was quoted as saying Myers is “fishing for another opinion, looking for one he likes,” and “He’s trying to get some Hollywood psychiatrist to come in and give an opinion.”
“Dr. Park Dietz is one of the most respected forensic psychiatrists in the United States and was highly recommended to the prosecution by Dr. David Johnson, the (Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo) doctor who conducted the defendant’s sanity evaluation,” the motion said.
Three other motions were filed Thursday.
In one, Myers requested that all prospective jurors receive a questionnaire to learn, with the extensive media coverage of the case, whether they already have formed an opinion.
“(It) will enable jurors to express their opinions, concerns and knowledge of the case in a private manner that would enable them to feel more comfortable and forthcoming as well as reducing the potential of tainting other members of the jury panel,” the motion said.
The other two motions pertained to the disclosure of reports and other information concerning the case.
The next hearing for the case is scheduled for Tuesday.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User