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James Holmes's lawyers object to second sanity evaluation

James Holmes and defense attorney Daniel King in court in June 2013.
James Holmes and defense attorney Daniel King in court in June 2013.
Andy Cross/Denver Post

Lawyers for Aurora theater shooting gunman James Holmes have until May 5 to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to review a decision by Judge Carlos Samour to have Holmes undergo a second sanity evaluation. Samour ordered the second evaluation after prosecutors alleged that the first one, done last summer, contained "numerous deficiencies" and that the psychiatrist who conducted it had an "unfair bias."

But Holmes's lawyers don't think that having him evaluated again is fair, either.

Holmes is accused of killing twelve people and injuring seventy more by opening fire at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at the Century 16 theater in Aurora in July 2012. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

At a hearing in February, Holmes's public defenders indicated that they planned to challenge Judge Samour's ruling that the first sanity evaluation was "inadequate" and his order that Holmes undergo a second evaluation by a different doctor. Samour gave them until March 14 to register their objections -- which they did.

In mid-March, Holmes's attorneys filed three motions that were sealed from public view but which basically challenged Samour's judgement and asked him to reconsider. In mid-April, Samour denied those motions. And so last week, Holmes's lawyers filed a notice to the court (on view below) indicating that they intend to ask the state Supreme Court to review Samour's order (though it's worth noting that the high court can decline to do so).

Judge Carlos Samour in court in June 2013.
Judge Carlos Samour in court in June 2013.
Andy Cross/Denver Post

In an order issued that same day (also on view below), Samour agreed to postpone the start of the second sanity evaluation until May 5 to give Holmes's attorneys time to file their appeal to the Supreme Court. If the high court decides to hear the appeal, the second evaluation will be postponed until after the justices rule on the matter.

This week, prosecutors also filed two unrelated motions. The first requests that if "new leads and investigative avenues arise," investigators be allowed to request search warrants from a judge other than Samour. The purpose, prosecutors wrote, would be to avoid ex parte communications with Samour -- in other words, conversations that don't involve Holmes's attorneys and therefore, could seem improper. They did not indicate whether any new leads had, in fact, arisen or if so, what they were.

The second motion filed by the prosecution (also shared here) is a response to Holmes's attorneys request that the trial be moved out of Arapahoe County. Prosecutors oppose the idea. They argue that the trial should stay in Arapahoe County and they dispute Holmes's attorneys' claim that pretrial publicity has tainted the jury pool.

Continue to read the motions and orders referenced above.

 

Notice to the Court of Intent to Ask for Review by the Supreme Court

Order Extending Stay on Second Sanity Evaluation

Motion Re: New Leads in Case

Response to Defense Motion for Change of Venue

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "James Holmes's attorneys ask judge to move theater shooting trial out of Arapahoe County."

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


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