LAW WEEK COLORADO
Exactly one year after the Planned Parenthood shooter made his first appearance in court via video feed, the El Paso County Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex was relatively calm. The normal buzz of lawyers, jurors and clients filled the complex. There weren’t any cases on the docket that were as shocking as a mass shooter in a women’s healthcare facility.
On the fifth floor, where Chief Judge Gilbert Martinez’s office is tucked away, it was quiet. The courtrooms were empty and still. Martinez is presiding over the ongoing case against Robert Dear, who killed two civilians and a police officer when he attacked a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs the day after Thanksgiving in 2015.
Much like the complex on that anniversary of Dear’s first appearance, Martinez himself is quiet but upbeat.
In his 16 years as chief judge in Colorado’s 4th Judicial District, Martinez hasn’t presided over a case quite as high profile as the Planned Parenthood shooting case. This is the big one.