James Holmes: Did he send burnt currency to psychiatrist along with notebook?
A motion made public today in the James Holmes case references "the notebook and the burnt currency" when discussing whether a package sent to a psychiatrist who was seeing Holmes should be subject to doctor-patient privilege. Much of the document is redacted, including the psychiatrist's name, though she's been identified in court as Dr. Lynne Fenton. The motion does not explain the "burnt currency" or the contents of the notebook.
"The notebook and the burnt currency are not (redacted). Until and unless reviewed by this court, nobody knows what they are or even whether they would be, in any way, related to (redacted). Based on the circumstance, it is highly unlikely that they would be (redacted) or privileged in any way," says the motion, identified as P-10.
The motion was filed by prosecutors, who maintain that the contents of the package are not privileged. However, prosecutors last week dropped their request for immediate access to the notebook. They said they believe they'll eventually gain access to it if Holmes pleads not guilty for reason of insanity. If he does, statute dictates that he waives any privilege that might exist between him and his doctor.
Also released today is a motion filed by prosecutors that explains how the package was discovered. It says that on July 23, three days after the Aurora theater shooting, Holmes's lawyers contacted the University of Colorado, where Holmes had been a neuroscience student, "and asked to retrieve a package that [Holmes] sent to the university." Mail room staff located the package, it says, but because Holmes had rigged his apartment with explosives, CU police called the Adams County Bomb Squad to respond.
The bomb squad x-rayed the package, the motion says, and then proceeded to examine it under a portable fume hood for "the presence of chemical or biological contaminants." What they found inside, it says, was "a notebook with a post-it note."
The motion also suggests that the CU police chief and an Aurora police detective may have handled the notebook and briefly seen its contents, but that part is heavily redacted.
The 57 documents released today as a result of Judge William Sylvester's decision to unseal the court file also include motions relating to taking DNA samples, fingerprints and palm prints from Holmes, as well as taking a photograph of him. Holmes's attorneys argued that investigators had already taken physical evidence from their client and they weren't entitled to do it again. But Sylvester sided with prosecutors, who explained that the DNA samples and fingerprints taken earlier weren't for the purposes of investigating this case. For instance, prosecutors said they need a clear palm print from Holmes to compare it to "a latent partial palm print from the push bar to the exit of theater #9."
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