Silt home invasion suspect elects to represent himself in trial

A Rifle man accused of breaking into a Silt foster home at gunpoint in 2020 elected on Thursday to represent himself as his case goes to trial.

Janvier Pinkard, 37, is accused of using a handgun to force entry into the residence in December 2020. He accused without evidence the foster family of keeping child pornography of his daughter. No significant injuries were reported and Pinkard was later arrested.

In December 2022, Pinkard pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and his mental conditions to felony charges, including menacing, first-degree burglary, criminal intent to commit first-degree kidnapping, intimidation of a victim and felon in possession of weapon.

Janvier Pinkard.

On Thursday, Ninth Judicial Court Judge Denise Lynch urged Pinkard to reconsider his proposal to represent himself.

“I’ve never seen anybody pro se in 18 years of being a judge win,” she said, adding that Pinkard should stick with his attorney, Trent Palmer. “It’s a huge risk that you are taking representing yourself and not using the services of Mr. Palmer, who is also a very skilled lawyer, and I have seen him win.”

Pinkard’s incarceration since his arrest has been fraught with self-harm. Despite the Colorado Mental Health Institute of Pueblo deeming Pinkard mentally competent, Pinkard went on a monthslong hunger strike while in custody in the Garfield County Jail. This prompted county lawyers to urge the force-feeding of Pinkard to keep him from dying.

Pinkard was healthy enough to stand up from his wheelchair before Lynch on Thursday. His argument for self-representation is that he hasn’t had a chance to speak for himself since his arrest.

“If I fail, at least I actually tried to bring truth to light,” Pinkard told Lynch.

Lynch eventually agreed to allow Pinkard to represent himself, saying he is making the decision “knowingly,” “voluntarily” and “intelligently.”

“Can I object that it is not intelligently?” said Pinkard’s family member, Deatta Pinkard, over online court portal Webex.

Lynch denied this objection. She then set a motions hearing to take place before a trial is set.

Palmer, however, is not dismissed from the case entirely. Lynch said Palmer will still be used as an attorney if Pinkard needs advisement.

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