Monthly Archives: October 2012

What happened to Jimmy Holmes?

James Holmes, around 10 years of age

Before James there was Jimmy.

Jimmy Holmes was well liked, was social and was brilliant.  He had numerous friends.

He was happy.

But then something happened.

A downward spiral.

This is part of the story I’m working on for this Thursday about the suspect at the center of the Aurora theater shooting case.

Earlier this month I spent several days in California with the intent of showing our viewers who James Holmes was and his life leading up to his move to Colorado.

We are finally putting this piece together, which includes interviews with a teacher and childhood friends.

We also tap into the perspective of a local criminal forensic psychiatrist who will offer his fascinating opinions on the Holmes criminal case and the suspect’s mentality.

While I may receive some criticism from viewers for profiling the suspect, I do believe there remains significant interest in the behavior of Holmes leading up to the shooting.

A gag-order and sealed documents continue to cloak many details, including alleged motive and intent.

I hope to provide a little piece of the puzzle  on Thursday.

The top 3 quotes I hate to hear

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3. “That’s a personnel matter and not subject to disclosure.”

Very, very often government agencies like to protect their own to avoid embarrassment.

Often when we request information about a particular public servant who may be abusing his/her position, I’m told “Oh you can’t have that, because that’s a personnel matter.”

I’ve initially been denied expense reports and disciplinary documents based on “personnel matters.”

Scrutinizing an agency’s written policy on “personnel matters” can sometimes prompt disclosures.     Call out the bluff.

 2. “For security reasons, we can’t tell you.”

There are many circumstances in which sensitive information shouldn’t be disclosed to protect the integrity of a criminal investigation (such as a suspect’s mug shot that needs to be used in a photo-line up for witnesses).

I get that.

But some public safety agencies LOVE to use this excuse to avoid doing work.

Or they really think even the most mundane details can cause the earth to fall out of orbit.

I often hear this quote when I request video footage recorded in a public area that may contain wrongdoing.

1.  “There’s no story here.” 

Often when I’m calling on something to find out during the early stages if there really is a story behind a tip, I’ll be told by a government agency spokesperson “There’s no story here.”

Oh really?   Thanks for letting me know.  I really believe you, government spokesperson.  I guess I’ll hang up now and move on.

In MANY cases when I hear “There’s no story here,” there’s a good chance there is something worth looking at.   I’ll bypass the spokesperson and work other sources and documents to make sure.

And sometimes the quote “There’s no story here,” could be a great quote when something is eventually uncovered.