Judge makes ruling in Pollard case
Steamboat Springs — A judge has ruled on whether a man accused of murder in Routt County can appear at hearings without shackles and in street clothes.
Judge Shelley Hill denied the request but said she would allow Cole Pollard to have one hand unshackled so he can better communicate with his attorneys.
Defendants are already allowed to wear street clothes and not be shackled during jury trials, but Routt County Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann presented three main arguments for why Pollard should be allowed to appear unshackled and in street clothes during pre-trial hearings.
Uhlmann said his photo could be taken and published in the media. She also argued people attending the pre-trial hearings could wind up being members of the jury pool and could be prejudiced if they saw Pollard in jail garb and shackles. Finally, she argued that the restraints limit Pollard’s ability to speak with his attorneys.
Routt County Jail staff members testified that granting Pollard’s request would be a burden because additional security officers would need to be present during the hearings. They also said it presented security risks.
Uhlmann argued Pollard has been well behaved and has not been a problem for security officers.
“That there may have been few, if any, courtroom security problems in the past does not translate into no, or little, risk going into the future,” Hill wrote. “Criminal courtroom proceedings are very often emotional and tense events for all participants — defendants, victims, families of victims, families of defendants. The duty of the court security staff is to ensure the safety of all participants, including defendants.”
Regarding photos of Pollard by the media, Hill said that photography can only be permitted during the advisement and arraignments, and the media at any time can publish Pollard’s booking photo.
Pollard, who is accused of murdering 22-year-old Patricia Richmond, is not due back in court again until Oct. 23 for a preliminary hearing.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland
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