“I want to make it clear to the court that Hanme Clark is innocent.” That was the statement of Emilee Woodfin, a Senior Trial Attorney for the State Public Defender’s office, during a motions hearing on Tuesday afternoon regarding her client Hanme Clark. She continued to argue that the context of what happened is that Clark was harassed and threatened with violence by his neighbors, and when he reported it, the Sheriff did nothing. He is not a monster, and he did not randomly gun down people. Woodfin also argued that Clark had a constitutional right to defend himself and to bear arms. While Clark has not officially entered his plea to the court yet for the alleged killing of three people and wounding a fourth on November 20, 2023, in Custer County, Woodfin brought up the $2 million bond that was set by 11th Judicial District Judge Lynette Wenner last week hoping to have it discussed.
District Attorney Linda Stanley was present for the motions hearing and took the court podium, stating that the actions of Hanme Clark “turned this community upside down.” Stanley continued that he fled the state, and it has taken over a month to bring him back to Colorado from New Mexico. Concluding that Clark was a flight risk, Stanley asked his bond not to be lowered. Judge Wenner left the bond at $2 Million.
While motion hearings can seem routine, they often indicate how each side is starting to position the case moving forward. While the prosecution and the defense agreed on most of the motions made to the court by Woodfin, a few stood out.
The first was a motion for the court to order the prosecution to adhere to evidence discovery rules under “Rule 16.” This rule stems from a person’s constitutional rights that a government must disclose any evidence it has gathered on the defendant. District Attorney Linda Stanley’s office has been at the center of dozens of Rule 16 violations that have seen some cases dismissed or charges lowered, and this motion was clearly a message by the defense to the DA to be timely on evidence disclosures in this case.
But the most interesting motion was a request by Woodfin for the defense to have the ability to access the crime scene. Because the crime scene is on private property, the court has to decide if the needs of the defendant to access a scene outweigh the rights of privacy for the property owner. The prosecution countered, claiming that in a court case in Colorado decided in 2015 and named In the Interest of E.G., the right to a crime scene on public property is not automatic. While this might not seem important on the surface, it is clear that the defense is going to try to argue that Hanme Clark was on his property defending himself from trespassers. The property lines are not well defined, and it is likely that the prosecution wants to keep the waters from being muddied about possible trespassing claims. Judge Wenner said she would take it under advisement and rule on the motion at a later date.
As previously reported in the Tribune, a decades-long property line dispute has troubled the properties along Rocky Ridge Road under current and previous owners due to the steep terrain and the many problems of past surveys. Allegedly, on the day of the shooting, the four victims were working with a surveyor when Clark opened fire on the group. He claimed they were trespassing, and he feared for his life.
More details will be provided in the February 1 edition of the Tribune.
– Jordan Hedberg