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James Holmes videotaped 24 hours a day, seven days a week since his arrest, letter says

James Holmes in court in June 2013.
James Holmes in court in June 2013.
Andy Cross/Denver Post

Aurora theater shooting gunman James Holmes has been videotaped 24 hours a day, seven days a week since he was detained, according to a letter from the psychiatrist appointed to perform Holmes's second sanity evaluation (on view below). Holmes was arrested on July 20, 2012 in the parking lot of the Aurora Century 16 theater, in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that left twelve people dead and seventy wounded.

See also: James Holmes case: Death penalty foe Bob Autobee's letter to victims stirs controversy

The purpose of the psychiatrist's letter was to explain why he "routinely" videotapes sanity evaluations. Holmes's attorneys have objected to having the examination video recorded. In a motion (also on view below), they argue that it shouldn't be allowed because Holmes didn't know he would be taped when he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, which triggered the requirement that he undergo a sanity evaluation.

Holmes's attorneys also say that videotaping is "likely to interfere with the integrity of the examination." According to the motion, they have concerns about "the chilling effect" that a video camera could have on Holmes.

It will be up to Judge Carlos Samour to decide whether to allow the psychiatrist to videotape the examination. The issue is one of several that Samour plans to address at a hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

The remodeled Aurora Century 16 theater, where the shooting took place.
The remodeled Aurora Century 16 theater, where the shooting took place.

In the psychiatrist's letter, he argues that videotaping the examination would allow him to pay more attention to Holmes during the exam, provide for a more accurate record than taking notes and allow him to record Holmes's "demeanor, facial expression, posture, behavior, nuance etc." instead of just his words.

The psychiatrist also suggests that Holmes is no stranger to videotaping. "In this case," he writes, "the defendant has been videotaped 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since the time he was detained. Every interview he has participated in with law enforcement has been videotaped. As such, it is unlikely that the presence of an unobtrusive video camera in the evaluation be distracting, unfamiliar, or obtrusive to him."

Samour is also expected to set a new trial date at tomorrow's hearing. In a notice to the attorneys (on view below), he suggests December 8, 2014. The previous trial date of October 14 was postponed after the psychiatrist asked for more time to complete his evaluation. The new deadline for the evaluation is October 15.

At tomorrow's hearing, Samour will also hear arguments on two motions filed by Holmes's attorneys seeking to exclude specific expert testimony from Holmes's trial.

Below, read the letter from the psychiatrist, defense attorneys' motion objecting to videotaping the sanity examination and the judge's notice about the new trial date.

Letter From Psychiatrist Re: Videotaping Examination

Motion to Prohibit New Sanity Examiner From Videotaping

Notice Re: New Trial Date

Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com