Former Gopher heads to trial again

by Kamariea Forcier

Former Gophers football defensive tackle Kevin Holmes is again headed to trial in Hennepin County District Court for charges stemming from a 1995 incident.
University Police charged Holmes with carrying a concealed weapon in November 1995. Hennepin County Judge James T. Swensen dismissed the charges against Holmes last May, ruling that University Police used improper procedure during Holmes’ search and arrest.
Part of that decision, however, was overturned Friday by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The case now must go back to Hennepin County District Court for another trial.
According to Hennepin County court testimony, on Nov. 20, 1995, a University parking monitor noticed Holmes’ car parked illegally in a contract lot. When she discovered several warrants issued on the car for unpaid parking tickets, she issued a ticket for immediate tow.
While the monitor was waiting for the tow truck, Holmes returned to the car. He said he had no idea that the tickets existed, and also said the car was his wife’s. Holmes offered to pay the parking tickets the following day if he could take the car before the tow truck arrived.
The parking monitor testified in court that she felt intimidated by Holmes’ large size, so she called for backup from University Police.
According to court testimony, an officer arrived and spoke with Holmes. During the conversation Holmes put his hands in his pockets. The officer asked him to remove his hands from his pockets and Holmes complied. When Holmes put his hands in his pockets a second time, however, the officer said she then decided to place him in the back of her squad car to talk. Before she placed him in the squad car, she did a routine pat-down search of Holmes to make sure he was not carrying a weapon.
The officer discovered a gun clip in Holmes’ pocket. Holmes said that he owned a gun, and that it was at his home. Immediately after this admission, the officer performed a routine search of his vehicle before it was towed.
During the search, the officer discovered a .40 caliber handgun in the car’s glove compartment.
Judge Swensen did not admit discovery of the gun as evidence because David Gross, Holmes’ attorney, argued that the officer’s search of Holmes’ car was illegal.
Gross also said Holmes was not read a Miranda warning, and therefore Holmes’ statement about owning the gun should not be admitted as evidence in court.
The Minnesota Appeals Court reversed the lower court’s decision, stating “The district court dismissed the charge against Holmes for lack of evidence after suppressing all evidence against him.”
The appeals court decision, which returns the case to Hennepin County for a retrial, marks the fourth time Holmes will face charges of carrying a concealed weapon from the same incident.
The Minneapolis city attorney’s office originally dropped charges against Holmes in December 1995. Then, without offering explanation, they reinstated charges against the former Gophers player in April 1996. After the May trial, a Hennepin County judge dismissed the charges. However, Friday’s court of appeals decision reverses the dismissal.