The criminal case against former University of Colorado assistant coach Joe Tumpkin, who is accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, is finally set to continue after a judge ruled that Tumpkin's attorney's should have access to the same cellphone records as the prosecution.
Tumpkin, 47, was charged with five counts of second-degree assault and three counts of third-degree assault in January 2017, but his case has been delayed for more than a year after his attorneys filed an appeal saying they were improperly denied access to cellphone records.
According to the appeal — which was originally filed with the state Supreme Court but ultimately ruled on in Broomfield District Court — Tumpkin's ex-girlfriend Pam Fine voluntarily turned over her cellphone records to police as evidence in the case. But prosecutors asked Broomfield County Judge Amy Bockman to not allow the defense access to those records prior to a preliminary hearing.
Bockman, citing privacy concerns, said prosecutors would have to turn over evidence on the phones the court deemed relevant to the case but otherwise denied Tumpkin's attorneys access to the information on the phone.
But in a ruling issued on Aug. 31, Broomfield District Court Judge Emily E. Anderson ruled that Bockman erred in keeping the records from the defense.
"It is not possible for defense counsel to determine all possible defenses, evidentiary objections, or what further investigation needs exist without the cellphone data," Anderson wrote. "A review of the evidence is a key defense function. If the court is reviewing evidence for relevance, the court is making decisions for defense counsel and that would not be appropriate."
Anderson said the county court has "limited discretion" in felony cases and did not have the ability to seal the cellphone data. Anderson also said Fine forfeited her right to privacy with regards to the contents of the cellphone because she turned them over voluntarily.
"Knowing her right to refuse consent, understanding the consequences of consenting, and intending to further the state's investigation and prosecution of Tumpkin, Fine consented to the state's complete download of her cellphone data, abandoning her previously-held privacy interest therein," Anderson wrote. "Fine voluntarily providing the state with unfettered access to her cellphone data(which remains in the state's possession and control), not only defeats any constitutionally-protected privacy interest she may have had, it also brings the data well within mandatory disclosures."
Anderson ordered that the cellphone records be turned over to Tumpkin's defense team.
Tumpkin's defense attorney Jon Banashek did not return request for comment Tuesday.
With the ruling, Tumpkin will now once again be scheduled for a preliminary hearing, in which a judge will determine if there is enough evidence for the case to move from county court to district court.
Sue Lindsay, a spokeswoman for the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office, said that a new preliminary hearing date has not yet been set.
Tumpkin remains free on $10,000 bond.
According to an arrest affidavit, Fine told investigators Tumpkin assaulted her more than 100 times between February 2015 and November 2016 while they were dating.
The allegations against Tumpkin sparked an investigation into CU's handling of the case that resulted in Chancellor Phil DiStefano receiving a 10-day suspension and Head Football Coach Mike MacIntyre and Athletic Director Rick George both being ordered to make a $100,000 contribution to a domestic-violence support organization.