The James Holmes trial began this week. I’m sure many of you out there have opinions about this case, or even about James Holmes as an individual. I’ve got a few things to say that you may, or may not agree with.

As for my point of view on this trial – just in case anyone is interested – I believe the prosecutor George Brauchler is using this case as a stepping-stone for his career in politics. Yes, I know Mr. Brauchler is a gifted trial attorney who has a way with juries in the courtroom, and I don’t mean to take away from his talents, but in my opinion, to push this case forward is a disgrace.

It’s well known that James Holmes was willing to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence to life in prison – without the possibility of parole. This means that James Holmes would spend the rest of his life behind prison walls and would only leave in a pine box. There would be no chance of an early release, no chance for appeals to higher courts – nothing but a life behind bars in a maximum security prison. Mr. Brauchler turned down such a plea deal, instead pushedthis case to trial and sought a death sentence.

Life in Prison or the Death Penalty

The question I have is; is this decision to move forward with the trial truly best for the victims and for the citizens of Colorado, OR is this decision ego based, giving Mr. Brauchler his time in the spotlight (both national and international) and a boost in his political career?

For me, the answer is clearly the latter. A term of life in prison without the possibility of parole will spare tax-payers the enormous expense of proceeding with a death penalty trial and the costs for all of the appeals that are sure to follow.

As it stands, taxpayers of Colorado have spent over 2 million dollars in the defense of Mr. Holmes - a significantly large sum in and of itself - and the trial has just begun. Further, a death penalty conviction brings with it automatic appeals to the higher courts – once again with these costs falling on the shoulders of Colorado taxpayers.

I am vehemently opposed to the death penalty for MANY different reasons. The costs involved in such litigation is certainly one reason, and the trial of James Holmes clearly demonstrates this issue of death penalty litigation.

Having not spoken with the victims families, I do not presume to know their opinions, but I understand they may feel justice is only served with a death sentence. However, I feel it is the duty of the prosecutor to explain to the victims the truth about a life sentence without a possibility of parole (no picnic by any stretch of the imagination), AND the fact that this trial will not bring closure as the appeals tied to the case can stretch decades. Does that seem fair to those who have already suffered at the hands of James Holmes?

You're Right to Representation

I also understand that people may feel disgusted by the fact that James Holmes receives the benefit of a brilliant legal team at no cost to him but rather shouldered by the taxpayers of Colorado. That, however frustrating, is the bedrock of our legal system – that every citizen of the United States shall be entitled to representation when being charged by the government. So before you shrug this off as unfair and undeserved, remember exactly how much power our government truly has. Then ask yourself, would you ever want to fight goliath alone?

What are your thoughts?