Doctors accused in deaths want hearings in Denver

Two former western Colorado doctors accused in the deaths of four patients want a judge to move their next court appearances from Grand Junction to Denver, arguing it would be more convenient for them and their attorneys, according to motions filed Friday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has objected and said in a court filing they intend to seek trials for the doctors in Grand Junction.

“The public in general, and the victims in particular, are entitled to attend hearings in this matter and could not readily do so in Denver,” a government response read.

Dr. Sam Jahani, 49, most recently of Beaumont, Texas, is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday at the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building in Grand Junction. His former colleague, Dr. Eric Peper, 53, of Summerland Key, Fla., is scheduled to appear Aug. 30.

Jahani’s Denver-based attorney, Stephen Peters, wrote in a motion it will be difficult to attend Jahani’s arraignment because of legal matters with other clients in Hot Sulphur Springs on Monday, and the next day in Steamboat Springs. Moreover, Jahani, who is free after posting $100,000 bond, has “very scarce resources for private defense of this case,” the motion said.

“According to Mapquest, it would require almost five hours of driving time for counsel to travel to Grand Junction from either Grand County or Denver, which are the only two locations in which defense counsel maintains an office,” the motion said.

In Denver, the federal courthouse is “merely a few blocks” from Peters’ office, the attorney said.

A Denver hearing “would be much less expensive and much less time consuming for Dr. Jahani, the sole provider for his wife and children, to travel from Texas to Denver than it would be to travel to Grand Junction.”

In response, Michelle Heldmyer, assistant U.S. attorney in Grand Junction, wrote there’s no compelling reason to move the hearings, while asserting Jahani earns “significant income.”

The crimes outlined in a 70-count indictment allegedly occurred in either Mesa, Delta or Montrose counties, Heldmyer noted.

Both doctors were arrested last week.



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