An Ugly Picture

The Colorado Supreme Court gets involved in a child-pornography case.

Steinberg says he cannot prepare his defense without copies of the seized photographs -- the evidence prosecutors intend to use against his client. But the prosecution refused to give him copies, arguing that the photographs are contraband and illegal to possess. Instead, the prosecutors said, Steinberg would have to view the photographs at the sheriff's office.

Steinberg complained to Judge Bencze, who told the prosecutors to hand over the photographs. Instead, the prosecutors asked the Colorado Supreme Court to decide the issue.

Although the lawyers in the case aren't talking, Dennis Hall, a chief deputy district attorney for Jefferson County, says the issue revolves around how a defense lawyer is allowed to prepare during a case involving contraband. Whether the contraband is drugs or a sawed-off shotgun or child pornography, "being a lawyer doesn't give you the right to possess it," he says.

After last week's hearing, Steinberg told Westword that all 200 counts essentially concern a single photograph. "I think I have a right to have the evidence in my office, where I can look at it when I need to," he said. "Not run down to the sheriff's office."

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