Aurora Theater Shooting

Aurora theater shooting: James Holmes doctor-patient-privilege debate postponed

A hearing to argue whether a doctor-patient privilege exists between accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes and Dr. Lynne Fenton, the University of Colorado psychiatrist he was seeing, has been postponed. Originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon, prosecutors asked that it be delayed until next Thursday, August 23, because they say they haven't received all the information necessary to prepare for the hearing.

"We have received ... more than 2,500 pages of discovery this week and 52 DVDs and CDs, but we are awaiting additional information," prosecutors wrote in a motion on view below. Information requested in a subpoena served to the University of Colorado, where Holmes was a grad student, "is necessary for the hearing on privilege," they added. Holmes's defense attorneys did not object to the delay.

On July 27, a week after the shooting, Holmes's attorneys filed a document called "Motion for Immediate Production of All Discovery Pertaining to Improper Disclosure of Privileged Material," that asks for all evidence related to the seizure of a package Holmes sent to Fenton. In an uncensored version of the motion made public in late July, Holmes's attorneys argue that the information is privileged.

"The materials contained in that package include communications from Mr. Holmes to Dr. Fenton that Mr. Holmes asserts are privileged," they wrote. "Mr. Holmes was a psychiatric patient of Dr. Fenton, and his communications with her are protected." The motion has since been censored to remove a reference to Holmes's patient status.

Thursday's hearing will still occur, but it will be mostly procedural.

People's Motion to Continue

For more, read our Aurora Theater Shooting archive.

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar